Magnussen tells of 'panic' at Haas in early 2019
Kevin Magnussen admits of panic within Haas F1 Team as early as Bahrain in the 2019 season, much before the Barcelona upgrades.
Haas’ 2019 F1 campaign was plagued by problems, as the American team struggled with their aerodynamics which limited their on-track performances. Such issues hurt their race-day running especially, which derailed their whole season.
As Haas searched for answers and attempted to improve their car, their issues seemingly worsened, especially after the upgrade in Barcelona. The team were forced to switch back to their Australia-spec car prior to the summer break after Romain Grosjean’s insistence.
While they put up a brave face in front of media then, Grosjean’s teammate Magnussen revealed that panic within the team began as early as Bahrain, in fact, when they qualified high up, and then rapidly lost positions in the race, as they could sense something wrong.
“I think there are a few different reasons, but it became very clear in Bahrain that we had a problem, which was really strange because in winter testing and in the first race the car was really good,” said Magnussen to media including FormulaRapida.net.
“Even in Bahrain in qualifying we qualified in the Top 10. Then in the race it just completely fell apart. So from there on it was a little bit of panic in the team. We couldn’t really focus on performance and kind of put our time to find the real root of the problem.
“We were looking a lot at tyres and blaming the problem on tyres issues whereas in fact it was a little more simple, I think, just aero issues, unstable aero and the whole platform just not being strong enough and consistent, stable enough.
“It’s a very, I would say, frustrating problem, because we have able to qualify well but in the race we just have not had any strength. That’s very frustrating as a driver, where you start in a position and then you’re just fighting to try to hang on to your position rather than attacking the guy in front.
“In that way it’s been pretty frustrating, but on the other hand, we are a very young team, it’s only our fourth year. Last year we got P5 in the Constructors’ Championship. I think that’s pretty impressive. I don’t think many teams have done that in their third year.
“So we’ve got to take some confidence from that as well and just build on the experience that we have had this year and the learning that we have done and then just come back stronger next year.”
Despite this frustration, however, Magnussen noted that these handicaps forced him to learn and progress more as a driver along with teammate Grosjean. The Dane reckons the difficult F1 season will help his cause in the future as he knows he can handle it.
“You always learn in any situation but especially when it’s difficult you learn different things and you just have to approach your problems in a different way and I think that gives you strength and some experience that you wouldn’t necessarily have gotten if you were just cruising and driving in a perfect car. So in many ways it’s also been positive, both for me, as a driver, and for the team as well.”
[Note: This article was written by me for FormulaRapida, and edited by Darshan Chokhani]