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Haas F1 Team

Haas: Unsportsmanlike claims in Saudi Arabia 'complete bullshit'

The Haas Formula 1 team was criticised by some of its rivals for deploying an aggressive strategy to score a point in Saudi Arabia.

Magnussen Tsunoda Saudi
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Haas Team Principal Ayao Komatsu has described the accusations aimed at his squad as “complete bullshit” after rival teams took issue with its strategy at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Magnussen was issued a 10-second time penalty for making contact with Alex Albon before another 10-second penalty was delivered when he overtook Yuki Tsunoda off the track. After moving ahead of Tsunoda, Magnussen backed off his pace and formed a train of cars behind him.

This was done to benefit teammate Nico Hulkenberg further up the road who was able to make a pit stop and reemerge on the track inside the points.

Speaking to media including RacingNews365 ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Komatsu revealed that Haas wasn't initially aware that Magnussen had committed an illegal overtake on Tsunoda.

"I accept criticism,” he said. “The criticism is the fact that we as a team didn't know that Kevin overtook Tsunoda by going off the track. We just didn't know that at that time.

“So that's the criticism I totally accept, we should have known that as a team straight away. And then Kevin should have given the position back by himself anyway. But if he didn't, as a team, we should have instructed Kevin to give the position back straight away.

“And had we done that, there would be no argument, we would have overtaken Tsunoda anyway, because we had the pace.

“At that point, we already had a 10-second penalty for [colliding with] Albon. “So as soon as we know that we'd got a 10-second penalty by Albon, Kevin's out in terms of fighting for points.

“That's why he backed everybody up to get Nico to score a point.”

Komatsu hits back

Haas' strategy to use Magnussen as a roadblock and allow Hulkenberg to create a gap worked in its favour.

The German driver crossed the line in 10th place to bag Haas' first points of the season.

“That strategy, I don't make any apology,” Komatsu added.

“Anybody would have done that. Unsportsmanlike is the fact we overtook Tsunoda by going off - but we just didn’t know.

“We put [measures] into place internally to make sure that if the same thing happens, we can spot it straight away.

“But what happened after in terms of creating a gap, that’s the obvious thing because, if you didn't do that, you're not doing your job.

“It's obvious what we needed to do. The only chance we had was with Nico. So any team would have done the same. And if somebody says, no, no, that's unsportsmanlike - it's complete bullshit."

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