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Frederic Vasseur

Vasseur: Changing penalty system 'makes no sense to me'

Frederic Vasseur is not in support of further changing the F1 penalty system after Kevin Magnussen's driving at the Miami Grand Prix caught attention and called the current approach into question.

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Frederic Vasseur has waved off suggestions the FIA super licence penalty points system needs to be changed in the aftermath of Kevin Magnussen picking up five such sanctions over the Miami Grand Prix weekend.

The Ferrari team principal was not convinced by arguments that the penalty approach needed to be reviewed, saying it made "no sense" to change it.

Magnussen was hauled before the stewards multiple times in Miami. During the sprint, his robust defensive tactics against Lewis Hamilton earned him three penalty points. The following day, he was punished with two more for causing the collision that put Logan Sargeant out the grand prix.

That brought the Haas driver up to 10 points out of a possible 12 before a race ban. If he reaches that number before the end of the 2024 season, he will have to miss a round.

"The stewards have the tools on the table. They can give for each infraction two [FIA super licence] points penalty," Vasseur replied to media including RacingNews365 when asked about the strategy employed by Magnussen in the sprint.

"If he's doing 10 seconds [worth of time penalties] again and again and again, four times two points, he's out, he added, in reference to the system which allows for 12 such points. 

"They have everything on the table. We don't have to try to change the rule again. That makes no sense to me to change that - we have enough with what we have today."

'I don't want to take their job, I have enough to do with mine'

It is not the first time this season that Magnussen's defensive driving has caught the attention of the F1 establishment.

At the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the Haas driver deliberately backed up the pack behind him to allow team-mate Nico Hulkenberg to gain enough of an advantage to pit and not lose a position. That approach earned the German a point in Jeddah.

It was the same strategy used by Magnussen during the Miami Grand Prix sprint that saw him accumulate 35 seconds worth of penalties whilst Hulkenberg scored two more points. After the grand prix on Sunday, Magnussen's total for the weekend stood at over a minute.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella suggested the Danish driver should "spend a weekend at home" after the 31-year-old was brought before the stewards for unsportsmanlike behaviour. 

He was ultimately not further punished for the tactics used, but the driver himself said he was not a fan of racing in that way.

"I didn't pay too much attention to what happened yesterday [during the sprint] - I was focused on my guys," Vasseur said when asked about Stella's opinion on the matter.

"But then, at the end the stewards have the system of the penalty points, that if someone is doing something wrong, one, two, three times they can always penalise him by a time penalty and points [on their FIA super licence].

"It's up to them to do it. I don't want to take their job, I have enough to do with mine."

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