FIA planning harsher F1 penalties to clamp down on Magnussen Miami tactics

In Miami’s sprint Magnussen was handed three 10-second penalties for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, which meant the Haas driver was able to keep Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton behind. He also received a fourth penalty, this time a five-second addition, for leaving the track for no justifiable reason that bolstered his penalty points tally in the process.

While Magnussen ruined his own race, his tactics did allow team-mate Hulkenberg to score vital points, mirroring the Dane’s defensive drive in similar circumstances in Saudi Arabia.

Magnussen’s actions were slammed as «unacceptable» and worthy of a race ban by McLaren team boss Andrea Stella, with a growing consensus that the decision to raise the punishment from five to 10 seconds for this season does nothing to deter drivers from blocking rivals illegally to benefit a team-mate.

The Miami stewards decided to stick with 10-second penalties to maintain consistency with previous decisions, but raised in one of their verdicts the point that harsher penalties might be a better solution going forward.

Autosport understands the FIA is keen to start handing out drive-throughs in such scenarios, which solves the issue immediately because it forces the offending drivers to pit and cede track position within two laps.

The matter is set to be discussed by the teams, stewards and the FIA in Friday’s team managers briefing at Imola’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The escalating punishment would be handed out in case of repeat offences during the same race, when the stewards suspect drivers are intentionally going off track to maintain their position.

A return of stewards telling drivers to give the position back, which was standard practice until handing that responsibility to the drivers from 2022 onwards, is not under consideration.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team, on the grid

Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team, on the grid

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Speaking exclusively to Autosport, RB team principal Laurent Mekies said he was in favour of harsher penalties.

«It’s one thing to slow strategically the cars behind you to help your team-mates or to help your race, it’s something different to cut the track and gain a position on somebody to then slow him down,» the former FIA man said.

«I think the sport needs find a way to avoid from happening. It’s not that difficult, it’s called a drive-through. The rulebook completely allows the stewards to judge what happened and do that.

PLUS: The can of worms opened by Magnussen’s Miami F1 sprint antics

«And with the reaction of everyone, we probably don’t want that to continue to be the way of doing things, so in Monaco you could just cut the chicane and slow back down. Even if the guy gets a big penalty or penalty points, it still helps his team-mate to get a point.

«So as a group it’s something that we want to make sure we have the tools to limit that from happening. I think we have them and it’s up to them to enforce it.»

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