FIA explains Magnussen and Alonso penalty decisions

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FIA explains Magnussen and Alonso penalty decisions
Jonathan Noble
By: Jonathan Noble
Oct 8, 2018, 4:22 PM

The FIA decided not to give Kevin Magnussen a penalty for his move on Charles Leclerc in the Japanese Grand Prix because it felt it was unlucky timing rather than a deliberate chop.

Leclerc was left fuming at Suzuka on Sunday when he damaged his front wing in a collision with Magnussen as they battled for position early in the race.

The Sauber driver had been tucked into Magnussen's slipstream down the start-finish straight, and as he moved to the inside to try to pass, the Haas came across right in front of him.

Although the F1 stewards clearly had no choice but to investigate the incident, it decided from video evidence that Magnussen's move had not actually been in response to the direction Leclerc had taken.

F1 race director Charlie Whiting said: "If you analyse very, very carefully, what you see is two cars coming down, with Kevin not moving and then Charles catches, catches, catches.

"He [Charles] decides to go to the right and, at exactly the same time, or on the video it was one frame, one frame's distance, then Kevin moves.

"I think it is impossible to say Kevin blocked him. It was just that he had made the decision, he was going to go right, fractionally after Charles had.

"You have to look at it quite a few times and analyse it in a little detail to see that. But I think it was just unfortunate. And I think that is what the stewards felt."

Alonso penalty explained

Whiting also went on to say that the FIA had to punish Fernando Alonso for cutting the chicane, even though he had been forced off the track shortly beforehand by Lance Stroll.

Whiting added: "The stewards felt that it was perfectly clear what Fernando did. He cut the chicane, drove quickly across the gravel and came back on way in front. I think it was pretty clear that he had gained an advantage by leaving the track.

"The stewards felt that Stroll had actually forced Fernando off, so you could not say that because Fernando was forced off he was entitled to cut the chicane. He wasn't.

"He should not have taken a place by doing it but equally Stroll should not have pushed him off the track. So they felt each driver should get a five-second penalty for two separate offences."

Whiting went on to explain that if Alonso had not gained a position by cutting the chicane, and had even given the place back to Stroll, then he would not have been given a penalty.

"If he had given back the position, I don't think Fernando would have been penalised. That would have been straight forward."

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33, runs off the track behind Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33, runs off the track behind Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13

Photo by: Steven Tee / LAT Images

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Japanese GP
Author Jonathan Noble
Article type Breaking news