Williams call for review of Haas’ ‘sportsman-like or not’ tactics in Jeddah

Michelle Foster
Alex Albon speaking with team boss James Vowles

James Vowles has questioned Haas' Jeddah tactics

James Vowles has joined RB in calling for Formula 1 to review Haas’ tactics from the Saudi Arabian GP where Kevin Magnussen deliberately slowed the field.

In what is already shaping up to be an intense battle at the lower end of F1’s midfield, there is just one point’s difference between sixth and 10th in the standings.

James Vowles has questioned Haas’ Saudi Arabian GP tactics

It’s a battle that Williams find themselves in, sitting in seventh place after two rounds, right behind Haas who scored a point in Saudi Arabia.

However, the manner in which the team did that has irked their rivals.

Labelled as “unsportsmanlike conduct” by RB’s racing director Alan Permane, Magnussen overtook Yuki Tsunoda off the track but instead of giving back the position, he copped a 10-second penalty to stay ahead of the RB driver.

But it’s that he then deliberately slowed Tsunoda and those behind him, including Williams’ Alex Albon, that has rival team bosses up in arms. The Dane did that to allow his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg to build up a gap that handed the German P10 on the day.

As for Albon, he crossed the line behind Magnussen but finished P11 to the Dane’s 12th after Magnussen’s two 10-second penalties were applied. The first of those was for hitting Albon earlier in the race after the Safety Car restart.

Vowles believes Magnussen’s actions cost Williams a point.

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“I know we had a car that could score a point there, and yet we walk away without anything to our name,” Vowles said in the Williams debrief.

“Now in part, that was because Alex’s car was damaged by Magnussen pushing him into the wall, receiving a penalty as a result of it, but then using tactics to back up the remainder of the field and create a gap so that Hulkenberg could score that additional point.

“Now those questions on whether or not those tactics are viable or not, or sportsman-like, let’s review that as an organisation and a sport going forward.

“My opinion from it is that’s not how I want to go racing.”

Albon, meanwhile, has raised concerns that Magnussen’s tactics could set a precedent given the fierce battle to score points.

“You saw it this weekend,” he said. “I think any team would do the same thing if you sacrifice one driver for guaranteed points.

“Maybe the top teams won’t do it. But the midfield teams who need to take points at any opportunity, you would do it every single time.

“I think you might see more drivers doing it just to guarantee a team-mate to have points.”

He weighed in on Magnussen’s penalty for passing Tsunoda off the track, calling it a “bit cheeky”.

He added: “I mean, you basically guarantee your team-mate points for a 10-second penalty.

“Why wouldn’t you do that everywhere? I don’t think five to 10 seconds is correct. I think it needs to be you must return the position back, and just leave it like that.”

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