Thursday, May 23, 2024

Haas’ Kevin Magnussen: Monaco “one of the most special” events of the season

MoneyGram Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen feels that driving in Monaco Grand Prix is a stand-out experience, assigning Monte Carlo the “best place” to put in laps in a Formula 1 car. 

Monaco comes on the heels of the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, a decision made due to extreme flooding in the region. Magnussen keeps those impacted in his thoughts as he enters the next round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship

“First, we’re hoping for the best for the region and people of Emilia Romagna and neighboring areas. Of course, it’s sad to cancel a grand prix but I completely agree with the decision. 

“Monaco is a special event for me, one of the most special of the season. Monaco is the best place to drive a Formula 1 car. Of course, it’s very narrow and it’s a small track, but it’s fast so you really feel the speed.”

Qualifying in Monaco tends to be one of the season’s most unpredictable sessions, with great importance placed on putting in the perfect lap to secure the best possible starting position at a track that offers little to no opportunity for on-track passing. Between this added pressure, limited space and the high probability of stoppage, Magnussen describes the challenging conditions of Saturday’s shootout. 

“Qualifying is the most important part of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. It’s a very small track and traffic at the end of the lap before you start a flying lap can often be a challenge. Communication with the team and trying to set yourself up with a little bit of extra tire temperature and brake temperature before having to bunch up in the queue before you start your lap is important. 

“It’s also a little random, so it’s hard to fully prepare for, you’ve just got to be mindful and just try to make the best out of Turn 1 as you’re often going to arrive there with cold tires and brakes so it’s a bit of a compromise.” 

Magnussen enjoys the “make or break” quality of Monaco qualifying, which sets this weekend apart from any other venue on the schedule. With this, car set-ups will be tuned to suit one-lap pace above all else. 

“You base your set-up fully for qualifying in Monaco. You’re trying to get everything set-up for that one lap because overtaking in the race is next to impossible. You make or break your weekend in qualifying so it’s really all about one lap performance and I think that’s what makes Monaco unique as well. 

“It’s all about going fast on that one lap in qualifying. I think that’s cool to have, there’s almost no other place on the calendar that has that characteristic so I’m really looking forward to it.”

The Danish driver expects VF-15 to be equally as strong in Monaco as in past rounds, with his last result at the Miami Grand Prix earning him a points finish at one of Haas’ home events. 

“I see no reason why the VF-23 won’t be strong there, it’s been pretty strong at all of the races this year, and I don’t expect any difference in Monaco.”

“The rodeo ride in Monte Carlo is just another level of intensity and a huge challenge” – Nico Hülkenberg

Nico Hülkenberg echoed his team-mate’s sentiments with regards to the people of the Emilia Romagna region and the vicinity, and hopes that the area is able to recover soon. 

“First of all, I would like to emphasize that our thoughts remain with the people of the Emilia Romagna region. Terrible images that went around the world last week – I hope the region can recover from the catastrophe as soon as possible.”

When asked about the significance Monaco holds for him, Hülkenberg said that he considers this event to be a step above the rest in terms of difficulty. 

“Regarding Monaco, it’s definitely a race like no other. We’re traveling to many special places like Miami, Melbourne, Las Vegas, Singapore etc. but the rodeo ride in Monte Carlo is just another level of intensity and a huge challenge. It’s definitely one of my favorites in the calendar.”

Hülkenberg said that dealing with Monaco’s typically volatile qualifying session requires a solid line of communication between team and driver, as well as the ability to prepare for and anticipate the unexpected.

“Communication is the key. In order to ‘survive’ on this narrow track with no real straights, every team and their driver have to be prepared for the many imponderables at all times.”

Hülkenberg added that competing in his current home city makes Monaco extra exciting, as he was able to watch the build-up ahead of F1’s arrival and will enjoy being at home to sleep and get ready to race. 

“This year’s race will be my tenth grand prix in Monaco, and it’s definitely a nice feeling to wake up in your own bed and get to the track in the morning on a scooter or bicycle. I also like the time before the race when all the preparations start and you can feel that Formula 1 is coming to town.”

Credit: Steven Tee / LAT Images / MoneyGram Haas F1 Team