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Formula 1 Miami GP

Stella: "Unacceptable" Magnussen F1 tactics should be bannable offences

McLaren Formula 1 team principal Andrea Stella says Kevin Magnussen's defensive antics in Miami's sprint are "completely unacceptable" and should become bannable offences.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Mirroring his tactics from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Magnussen again held up midfield rivals to help Haas team-mate Nico Hulkenberg secure points in the sprint race.

This time Magnussen went off as many as four times to avoid losing places, which ended up costing him 35 seconds worth of penalties, but crucially didn't prevent him from keeping track position until Hulkenberg was safe to collect two points in seventh.

Afterwards, Magnussen was cleared of unsportsmanlike behaviour, which Stella vehemently disagreed with, saying the Dane's repeat tactics show the FIA needs to take action and tweak its ruleset.

"We have a case of behaviour being intentional in terms of damaging another competitor and this behaviour is perpetuated within the same race and repeated over the same season," Stella said.

"How can penalties be accumulative? They should be exponential. It is not five plus five plus five equals 15.

"Five plus five plus five equals maybe you need to spend a weekend at home with your family and reflect on your sportsmanship and then go back...

"It is completely unacceptable. It makes no sense from a sportsmanship point of view and this should be addressed immediately.

"If you are out of the points, getting 20 seconds or whatever doesn't make any difference. But for the competitors you have damaged, you have put them out of their race in a deliberate, perpetuated and repeated way."

Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren F1 Team

Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren F1 Team

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

When asked by Autosport if he was aware of any explanation why it hadn't been addressed yet after Jeddah, Stella replied: "I don't think they may have a reason why not. They were potentially just surprised by the fact that this was repeated.

"I am sure the FIA will look into that and will come to a sensible proposal for the Sporting Advisory Committee to evaluate. Hopefully these will soon become rules or guidelines that the stewards can apply."

One obvious solution is for race control to revert to making drivers give up a position rather than letting the teams make the decision themselves and threaten with drive-through penalties rather than often meaningless time penalties.

"That's as drivers what we've asked for, but they don't want to do it," McLaren's Lando Norris said. "They say it's up to us."

Team-mate Oscar Piastri pointed out that mandating drivers to cede positions also carries its problems, but felt that in "blatant" cases like Magnussen it should be a straightforward thing to implement.

"There are certain scenarios where giving the position back is very difficult," Piastri explained.

"Say you overtake somebody and the FIA asks you to give it back, but then you're dropped behind more people... is it still fair or not?

"But in [Magnussen's] situation, clearly all those problems would be fixed if the FIA said: 'You need to give the position back and if you don't, it's a drive-through'.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"If you know you're going to face a drive-through, you're going to give the position back."

He added: "If you go off by 10 centimetres and it's not clear on the TV or you pulled off the world's best overtake, then are the fans going to say: 'Oh, this is way too harsh'.

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"It's very difficult to police it like that, but if it's blatant, then the FIA should have the power to step in.

"The fact that it's not the first time and the driver is openly admitting he deserves the penalties and did it for the team, to me that's wrong."

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