Thursday, April 18, 2024

Kevin Magnussen looks forward to high-pressure sprint format in Austria: “You’re really performing and battling for important stuff”

MoneyGram Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen is excited to take on another sprint weekend at the Austrian Grand Prix, and said that he enjoys the heightened intensity that the “fast-paced” schedule provides.

“I’m looking forward to another Sprint. I like Sprint events, there’s more stuff happening throughout the weekend and the pressure is on straight away after the first practice. You’re really performing and battling for important stuff. 

Magnussen noted the importance of getting the first and only practice session right, with the first competitive session right at its heels with qualifying. 

“Even FP1 has way more pressure because it’s the only practice you get so you have to find your rhythm and hit your marks early on and quickly to maximize your rhythm for qualifying. It’s just a more focused and more fast-paced weekend, and I quite enjoy that.” 

Having achieved two points finishes in Austria with Haas, Magnussen said that he is unsure why the Red Bull Ring tends to be a good track for him, but hopes that he will find similar success this year as he has had previously. 

“I don’t know why we’ve been strong here over the years I’ve been with Haas, but it’s a fun circuit. Sometimes there are these circuits you tend to go well at and hopefully we can keep that trend going.”

When asked whether the string of European races ahead excite him, Magnussen said that this is an enjoyable stretch of the season due to the “familiar” venues and the ambiance that surrounds them. 

“I always enjoy the European season, the tracks are ones that all drivers know very well and it’s all just familiar surroundings. There’s a special atmosphere around the European races so I’m going to enjoy it and try and make the most of it.”

“It’s important we maximize the sessions and get everything out of it” – Nico Hülkenberg

Having familiarized himself with the format in Azerbaijan, team-mate Nico Hülkenberg had similar takeaways from the first sprint and said that he will be taking on this weekend with the same mindset, although the tracks are entirely different.

I’ve done it once in Baku now, it’s much more intense because from the first practice session, it’s much more meaningful, so it definitely felt more intense. 

“It’s a very different circuit to Baku, it’s a permanent race track and it has a short lap so there’s quite a big difference. The approach is the same as always though, we’ll be professional and try to get something out of it.” 

When asked what he likes about the circuit, Hülkenberg said that the nature-filled atmosphere plays a part in the track’s popularity with drivers and fans. Although the lap distance is very short, Hülkenberg said that this doesn’t take away from how “technical” of a circuit the Red Bull Ring is. 

There’s a lot of nature and the circuit itself is built into the mountains. There’s great scenery, it’s a scenic route into the track, and it’s very green. It’s one of the shortest, if not the shortest track we go to with just over one minute per lap, but it’s a technical and challenging track so it doesn’t mean it’s an easy circuit.” 

He added that the Red Bull Ring being so short in distance adds another layer of complexity, considering just how tightly packed the field will be in qualifying and race sessions, and how close lap times will end up being. 

“It’s shorter lap times so the field historically is very condensed there. We’ve seen it super condensed so I can only imagine the smallest of margins will make a big difference, so it’s important we maximize the sessions and get everything out of it.”

Credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team / Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images