Haas F1 News: Komatsu Calls for Magnussen Penalty Explanation

Haas F1 team principal Ayao Komatsu has challenged the stewards’ decision to penalize Kevin Magnussen following a crash with Yuki Tsunoda during the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend. Komatsu contends that the penalty was unwarranted, suggesting that Tsunoda shares at least an equal part of the blame. Despite this, Komatsu makes it clear the penalty cannot be appealed, however, he wants an explanation from the Stewards.

During the recent race at the Shanghai International Circuit, a restart after an early safety car period led to a contentious moment involving Haas driver Kevin Magnussen and RB’s Yuki Tsunoda. The incident occurred at Turn 6 when Magnussen, experiencing oversteer, made contact with Tsunoda’s right rear tire, causing Tsunoda to spin out and ultimately retire from the race. The stewards later assigned a 10-second time penalty to Magnussen, citing him as “predominantly to blame.”

Ayao Komatsu, the Haas F1 Team Principal, voiced strong objections to the stewards’ ruling during a post-race interview, as quoted by Autosport. He argued that the incident was a typical racing clash and should not have resulted in a penalty. He explained:

“I do not think that’s justifiable. I think it’s just a racing incident. He didn’t run Tsunoda off the track. He dived inside of Turn 6, he hit the apex, Tsunoda was wide, he still left the room, Tsunoda came back progressively.”

Kevin Magnussen
17th placed qualifier Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari looks on in the pitlane after qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April…

Bryn Lennon – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Komatsu added that the decision appeared heavily skewed against Magnussen, whom he believes was not solely responsible for the collision. Komatsu continued:

“He doesn’t go off the track, so maybe the definition ‘came back’ might be wrong. But it’s not like Kevin is wholly to blame. For me, minimum 50/50.

“If anything, I think more Tsunoda’s [fault]. Honestly, he didn’t turn into Tsunoda or anything. He’s dived inside, hit the apex, had a snap, but [it] didn’t change the car direction. He didn’t then run Tsunoda off the track. He has still room left. So why is that a penalty?”

The incident not only forced Tsunoda out of the race but also compromised Magnussen’s race, who, hampered by the penalty, crossed the finish line in 16th place. Frustrated yet compliant, Magnussen said he would review the race to better understand the dynamics of the incident, which he considered could equally have been classified as a racing incident. He explained:

“I think it feels like I did what I could to. When we had contact there was the car width [on the outside]. So I think we just misread each other a little bit, I guess. I need to review it. But to me, it might as well have been a racing incident.”