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Kevin Magnussen’s strategic maneuvers in F1 have been beneficial for Haas, but they also have him at risk of a potential race suspension.

If you’d have told Haas going into this Formula One season that, after Miami, it would have points from four rounds and sit seventh in the championship, the team would have been delighted.

A car that is more forgiving on its tires, combined with some particularly impressive displays from Nico Hülkenberg, has put Haas a step ahead of Williams, Sauber, and Alpine so far in 2024. It has surpassed all preseason expectations, set low after a difficult end to last year, in which it finished last, and that resulted in Guenther Steiner’s offseason exit.

On a couple of occasions, the deciding factor to make the top 10 has been Hülkenberg’s teammate, Kevin Magnussen, whose bold defensive tactics — it wouldn’t be a stretch to call them aggressive — have helped his teammate snare a couple of extra points.

But after a penalty-laden weekend in Miami, Magnussen will spend the rest of the season on the brink of an F1 race ban for his driving behavior, assuming he doesn’t trigger it with one more offense.

At a time when the gulf between F1’s fastest five teams and the slowest five is so great, every single point is valuable in the battle at the back of the grid, particularly as each constructors’ championship position is worth in the region of $12-15 million in prize money.

Magnussen had this in mind in Saudi Arabia after picking up a time penalty for a collision with Alex Albon early on and another for passing Yuki Tsunoda off-track. Knowing his race was ruined by the added time, he got aggressive in his defensive moves to help Hülkenberg. By slowing down the cars he was fighting, Magnussen created a gap that meant Hülkenberg could pit without losing a position, keeping 10th to score a precious point for Haas.

Post-race, Hülkenberg thanked Magnussen for playing the team game. Magnussen picked up three penalty points for the collision with Albon, while the overtake on Tsunoda only resulted in a 10-second time penalty — even though it had cost the cars behind far more.

Magnussen picked up another two penalty points in China for his collision with Tsunoda after the safety car restart, putting him on five for the season. Any driver who accrues 12 penalty points on their super license in a 12-month period is subject to a one-race ban, per the rules introduced in 2014.

Kevin Magnussen’s 2024 driving offenses

Race Offense Penalty

Saudi Arabia

Causing a collision with Albon

10s time penalty; 3 penalty points

Saudi Arabia

Leaving the track and gaining an advantage

10s time penalty

China

Causing a collision with Tsunoda

10s time penalty; 2 penalty points

Miami (sprint)

Leaving the track and gaining an advantage

10s time penalty

Miami (sprint)

Leaving the track and gaining an advantage

10s time penalty

Miami (sprint)

Leaving the track and gaining an advantage

10s time penalty; 3 penalty points

Miami (sprint)

Leaving the track without a justifiable reason…

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