Renault Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen has escaped a penalty for leaving the pitlane while the red light was on during Monaco Grand Prix qualifying.
Magnussen was reported to the stewards for passing the red light that came on as qualifying was stopped due to Max Verstappen’s heavy crash in Q1. But the stewards were satisfied with evidence from the team that there had been a discrepancy between the light at the pit exit and the signal on Magnussen’s dashboard.
“Although the green light was extinguished and replace by the red light two seconds before the driver crossed the pit exit line, the team presented evidence that the dashboard light only turned to red 0.55 seconds prior to the car crossing the line,” said a statement from the FIA stewards. “Further, the driver explained that he looked at the trackside light on approach, it was green, then he focused on the track ahead because there is a turn from the pit exit.
“By the time his dashboard light came on it was too late to avoid crossing the line. The team also radioed, ‘Red flag, red flag’ but the car had passed the line.”
Magnussen went on to qualify 16th, slowest of those to reach Q2.
“We saw the timings and the red light came on [the dashboard] half a second before I crossed the line,” he said. “A Formula 1 car brakes very well, but not that well.
“I saw the light, and it’s very clear I saw it, but in half a second you can’t stop the car. Half a second at 60km/h is not enough to stop at a red light.”
In April, Magnussen was given a pitlane start for the Bahrain GP as punishment for failing to stop at the FIA weighbridge in practice.
“Then I saw it and had time to stop, but I didn’t – I thought it was for someone else,” he said. “Here, I didn’t have time to stop.”