Formula 1 Racing

Magnussen ‘could have backed off but didn’t’ in Monaco crash, says team boss · RaceFans

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Monaco, 2024

Kevin Magnussen’s team principal Ayao Komatsu says they discussed his role in the Monaco Grand Prix crash which eliminated both their cars on the first lap.

Komatsu pointed out Perez could have avoided his collision with Sergio Perez shortly after the start of the race, which also eliminated the other Haas of Nico Hulkenberg.

Magnussen has faced criticism for a series of collisions this year which have seen him reach 10 penalty points on his licence – two shy of an automatic race ban. Komatsu said Magnussen initially rebounded from that setback with a strong performance in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

“Kevin had lots of criticism after Miami and we spoke about it a few times before Imola, in various points,” said Komatsu. “And in Imola he delivered a really good race from his side. Really, I felt like if the team delivered a good strategy, he should have scored points in Imola. So that was the best way to answer the critics, right?”

However in Monaco, where both drivers started at the back after they were disqualified from qualifying due to a technical infringement, the first-lap collision ended their chances of salvaging any points.

“In Monaco he had the speed from FP1 and then in qualifying couldn’t quite deliver. Then, of course, we had a team issue such that meant we had to start from the back.

“From that moment, you know, we had to go for alternative strategy, splitting the drivers. So you’ve got to play the long game.

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“So the decision-making process at that instant to go for that gap, which wasn’t really there, it’s not necessarily right. Of course he expected Perez to leave more room for him, but that’s not up to him.

“In the end there was a point where everything was under his control, where he could have made a decision to back off, which he didn’t. So we spoke about all this completely openly.”

Komatsu said Magnussen needs to “just reset for this weekend again” in Montreal. “He’s done it in Imola, so he needs to deliver clean weekend here.

“I think this circuit could play to our car’s strengths and hide our weakness, shall I say. And Kevin’s good in a circuit like here so I expect him to be able to deliver a good, clean race weekend here.”

Komatsu said he will make a decision “within a couple of weeks to months” on the team’s driver line-up for next season. Hulkenberg will leave to join Sauber in 2025, while Formula 2 driver

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