In a rare case of calling into question one of its own decisions, the FIA has changed its position on the blocking incident that involved Kevin Magnussen and Charles Leclerc in Suzuka.
The Haas and Sauber drivers were locked in a battle for position when Magnussen moved to the right to block Leclerc from attempting a pass, which led to a contact between the two cars, damage and ultimately to the Dane’s retirement.
The stewards initially ruled that the skirmish had been a racing incident, a view initially supported by F1 race director Charlie Whiting.
In Austin however, during the drivers’ briefing, Whiting revisited the incident and revised his position, stating that Magnussen had effectively moved too late.
“Charlie told us that he agreed that Magnussen probably moved a little bit too late,” Sergio Perez told Motorsport.com.
“I think he moved just a little bit too late, given the speed differences, but it’s always a bit difficult with these mirrors as well to see the difference in speed.”
Whiting clarified for drivers once again the rules regarding defensive moves. Perez’s team mate Esteban Ocon revealed that Magnussen recognized that his move had come too late.
“They said that Kevin did move too late, definitely, and it was not very safe. So probably things are going to change,” said the Frenchman.
“I’ve seen it, and I was the same in Sochi [when Magnussen and Ocon were racing each other], and we touched as well. Everybody agreed. Kevin agreed he was too late, he said it to Charlie.”