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Vowles Questions Fairness of Haas F1 Strategy

Vowles Critiques Haas’ Tactics in Saudi GP

15/03/2024

Williams F1’s James Vowles calls for a review of Haas F1’s strategic moves that led to Nico Hülkenberg scoring in Saudi Arabia.

Williams F1 Team Principal James Vowles believes Formula 1 should reconsider the tactics Haas F1 employed that enabled Nico Hülkenberg to score a point in Saudi Arabia.

Haas called Kevin Magnussen in for an early safety car period pit stop, triggered by Lance Stroll’s crash, but left Hülkenberg out on track.

Upon the restart, Magnussen received two consecutive 10-second penalties, one for leaving the track and gaining an advantage over Yuki Tsunoda, and another for causing a collision with Alex Albon.

Magnussen stayed ahead and deliberately drove at a pace that slowed down the pack, allowing Hülkenberg to build a sufficient gap to stay in front of Magnussen when he made his stop.

Hülkenberg then scored a point, moving Haas F1 into sixth place in the championship, ahead of Williams, Sauber, RB, and Alpine, who have yet to score.

“We had a car that could have scored a point in Jeddah, yet we came away empty-handed,” Vowles explains.

“This was partly because Alex’s car was damaged by Magnussen pushing him into the wall, earning a penalty, but then he used tactics to slow the rest of the pack and create a gap so that Hülkenberg could score that lone point available outside the top 5 teams, following Stroll’s retirement.”

“Now, questions arise about whether these tactics are viable or fair.”

“We need to review this as an organization and as a sport for the future.”

“My view is already very clear: it’s unsporting and not how I want to race.”

Albon then finished the race in 11th place, once Magnussen’s penalties were applied, and Vowles believes Williams has reasons to be optimistic for the upcoming races.

“In terms of car pace, yes. I expected the car to be approximately where it is. You can see the midfield battle is very, very tight.”

“Over the last two races, you’ve seen a very different order among the teams, and this just shows that there’s a tenth of a second between four teams.”

“It simply comes down to which team gets everything right to finish at the top of the midfield. Unfortunately, the top 5 teams are clearly ahead, and if they don’t face any issues, they take the top 10 spots. Thus, every point will be very hard to come by at the start of this season.”

“There are other tracks that will suit us more or less in the future. I think Melbourne will remain a positive track for us. It will be interesting to see how the car performs in Japan.”

“There are still questions from last year, and I hope we’ve adjusted the balance enough to have a better package there. But what we take away from this is that we are there or thereabouts to fight for points when the top 5 teams allow us.”

Vowles Questions Fairness of Haas F1 Strategy. Vowles Questions Fairness of Haas F1 Strategy

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