Magnussen & Sargeant’s crash at the Miami Grand Prix – who was at fault?

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Magnussen Sargeant crash Miami GP 2024

Kevin Magnussen and Logan Sargeant crashed at the Miami Grand Prix. Their collision brought out the safety car which resulted in Lando Norris winning his first F1 race. 

The crash meant Sargeant was forced to retire from his home race. Magnussen was eventually held at fault for the incident by the stewards, and received a penalty.

But was this crash really K-Mag’s fault? Was it a harsh penalty by the stewards? I’ve analysed the incident to find out.

Setting the scene

On lap 28 of the Miami Grand Prix Magnussen and Sargeant were fighting over 18th position. Logan was ahead and defending from K-Mag who was looking racey and trying to get past.

Crossing the start finish line, Logan was defending the inside and Magnussen, with DRS active, was on his outside. Logan went a little too hot in to turn 1 which allowed K-Mag to cut back and get a better exit from the first corner.

The right hander of Turn 1 quickly leads in to the S-bend of turns 2 and 3. Kevin’s better exit from Turn 1 meant that he had a run on Logan as they went left for Turn 2, and decided to try and go around the outside.

Being on the outside of Turn 2 quickly leads to being on the inside of Turn 3, which is where the drivers had contact.

The crash

K-Mag tried to go around the outside of Logan on the left hander of Turn 2. That then quickly became the inside for the right hander of Turn 3.

As the cars changed direction, Sargeant moved across to take the racing line for Turn 3, but Magnussen was there. Despite trying to drive over the kerb to get out of Sargeant’s way, the two cars made contact and ended up off the track.

Check out the crash for yourself, starting at 11:10 in the video below.

The contact resulted in Sargeant going backwards in to the tyres which destroyed the rear of his car and put him out of the race.

K-Mag got away with a damaged front wing and nothing else, and was able to continue the race.

The crash brought out the safety car. Lando Norris was leading the race at the time as his team had decided to keep him out longer than all of the other top drivers. The safety car therefore meant that he had a ‘cheap’ pistop where he lost about 10 seconds less than he would have under normal racing conditions, and rejoined the track still in the lead. 

Lando held the lead for the rest of the race, taking his first win in Formula 1. The safety car, caused by this crash, unquestionably played a big part in that. 

The penalty

After reviewing the incident the stewards gave Magnussen a 10 second penalty (one of many he received this weekend), two more points on his license and held him wholly to blame for the crash.

Below is a copy of the stewards’ penalty decision document:

The FIA's Driving Standards Guidelines

As you can see in the document above, on numerous occasions the stewards refer to the Driving Standards Guidelines (and how Kevin was a naughty boy in breach of them). 

Now, these Guidelines are not (yet) an official document released by the FIA. They’re due to be enforceable at the start of the 2025 season. However, at a commitee meeting earlier this year, the FIA agreed to a draft copy, which the stewards have been referencing all season in their penalty decision documents.

This draft version includes guidlines for the driving standards required when overtaking on the inside and outside of a corner, as explained below.

Overtaking on the inside

As reported by The Race, these are the guidelines for drivers overtaking on the inside:

  • Have their front axle at least alongside the mirror of the other car no later than the apex of the corner
  • Be driven in a safe and controlled manner throughout the manoeuvre (which includes the entry, apex and exit)
  • Without (deliberately) forcing the other car off the track at the exit, which includes leaving a fair and acceptable width for the car being overtaken from the apex to the exit of the corner
  • Be able to make the corner within the track limits

Overtaking on the outside

And these are the guidelines for drivers overtaking on the outside of a corner:

  • Have the front axle AT LEAST ALONGSIDE the front axle of the other car at the apex of the corner AND to the exit
  • Be driven in a safe and controlled manner throughout the manoeuvre (entry, apex and exit)
  • Be able to make the corner within the track limits

Magnussen fell foul of the Driving Standards Guidelines

The first bullet point for overtaking on either the inside or outside gives a guideline for where the overtaking car should be in relation to the other one.

Both of these are applicable to the Sargeant – Magnussen crash as the S-bend of Turns 2 and 3 meant Magnussen was at first on the outside, then on the inside.

Magnussen Sargeant Miami GP

The image above shows Kevin around the outside of Sargeant on the left hander of Turn 2. This is as far alongside as he managed to get.

The Guidelines above require a car overtaking on the outside to have their front axle at least in line with the front axle of the other car to be given racing room, and as you can see he didn’t manage that.

Magnussen Sargeant Miami GP crash

The image above shows Magnussen on the inside for Turn 3, shortly before the cars made contact. Here he needs his front axle in line with Logan’s mirror,  but again he’s a little far back for that.

So in both cases he was in breach of the guidelines, and not entitled to be given any space on either the outside or inside of Turns 2 or 3 respectively.

The stewards, following the letter of the law, held him to blame and penalized him accordingly. And from the evidence in the images above, I can understand why they did so.

But was the penalty fair?

There are a couple of dangers with setting specific requirements for one car’s proximity to another’s during an overtaking manouvre.

The first is that the specific corner, or sequence of corners, can have an affect on what is acceptable.

The second is that the driver being overtaken could assume that if the other car isn’t far enough alongide, then they have the right to the corner so will leave the other driver no space. Should there then be a collision, the leading driver knows they won’t be held responsible despite turning across the other one.

Magnussen Sargeant crash

I don’t think that’s what happened in this case. Instead, I think that Logan wasn’t expecting K-Mag to hang it out around his outside at Turn 2 and stay there for the inside of Turn 3.

As Brundle said on the Sky F1 commentary, that was a pretty unorthodox place to try and overtake. Logan wouldn’t have been expecting it and took his normal line in to Turn 3, only to feel Magnussen clip his rear wheel and end up in the barriers.

Magnussen Sargeant crash

In my opinion, Logan must shoulder some of the blame for not being aware of Kevin’s presence. Ok, going by the Guidelines Kevin shouldn’t have been there, but the fact is he was and the contact put Sargeant out of the race.

Had Logan checked his mirrors and given some space to Magnussen, he would have lost the position but continued in the race. And you can bet that as long as Magnussen stayed on the track and the drivers didn’t make contact, the stewards wouldn’t have had any issue with an overtake. 

In my opinion it’s a racing incident. Magnussen tried a move and was actually quite a way alongside Sargeant, but was given no room. Sargeant didn’t see him. No penalties required. But I think because K-Mag continued and Sargeant didn’t, the stewards felt obliged to penalise the HAAS driver.

Piastri did the same to Sainz

On the first lap of the Grand Prix, Piastri put the same move on Carlos Sainz.

Sainz Piastri Miami GP

The image above shows Piastri on the outside of Sainz at Turn 2. Piastri’s front axle is not in line with Sainz’s, so in theory he isn’t entitled to be given any racing room on the outside.

The image above shows the two drivers at the right hander of Turn 3. By this point Piastri has drawn further alongside Sainz and actually nosed ahead of him. 

Sainz was aware Oscar was there as soon as they came around Turn 2, so gave him room (which we was entitled to) up the inside for Turn 3.

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Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

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