Friday, July 19, 2024

Kevin Magnussen: “We’ve seen some teams making good steps and that’s actually been motivating as much as it’s been annoying.”

After a restful Summer break, Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen has his sights set on making a performance “comeback” with the team in the second half of the season— a goal he considers to be achievable when reflecting on the massive steps forward teams such as McLaren F1 Team and Williams Racing have made. 

“I think it’s clear that we didn’t finish the first half of the season the way we wanted, so we’re all super eager to make a comeback during the season. I think we can do that, we’ve seen some teams making good steps and that’s actually been motivating as much as it’s been annoying.”

With this objective in mind, Magnussen said that the Haas’ mindset as a team will be advantageous as they continue to develop VF-23. 

“It shows that if they can do it, we can do it too and I think that’s the mentality we’re going into the second half of the season with. I feel we as a team are in a good spot, but with the car, we’re a little behind so I’m looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to working hard to get to where we want to be.”

The Dutch Grand Prix marks the FIA Formula 1 World Championship’s return to the road after the Summer shut-down, and Magnussen looks forward to competing amidst the electric atmosphere that the Dutch fans bring to the “old-school” Circuit Zandvoort each year. 

“I think it’s the closest race we have to Denmark, but I feel Zandvoort is a completely orange race full of Dutch fans and that’s great. The atmosphere is super special there, but of course, they’re all rooting for their countryman. I like the track, it’s old school and unique and it’s one of those that you definitely enjoy driving a Formula 1 car on.”

When asked which venues he most looks forward to driving at next, Magnussen said that the remaining US-based weekends, the United States Grand Prix and brand-new Las Vegas Grand Prix, are at the front of mind. Being two further home races for Haas, he hopes that the team finds success as they did at the two previous US events. 

“Of course, the two US races are the ones we’re looking forward to, that’s where we want to do well. Last year, we scored points in Austin and this year we scored points in Miami, so scoring points on home soil is always a good feeling, especially in front of our main partners as well. I’m looking forward to those and hopefully we can be strong there.”

“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing” – Nico Hülkenberg

Team-mate Nico Hülkenberg feels that the team needs to keep up the same efforts from before the Summer break in order to see improvement, which entails more upgrades, less mistakes, and capitalizing on opportunities that arise. 

“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing. Obviously, we’re looking to find performance and we want to do better, we want to score more results and points. That just means work, bringing updates and maximizing all the chances you get, keeping the mistakes to a minimum and it will require everyone’s best effort and teamwork.”

When looking ahead to the remainder of the schedule, Hülkenberg said that there are several of his personal favorites coming up, and that he is excited to take on some new venues that he has not yet visited. 

“It’s always difficult to speculate but we have a lot of highlights coming up in the second half, lots of venues that I personally enjoy a lot as well as a couple of new ones as well, like Qatar and Las Vegas for me. There’s lots to look forward to.”

The Dutch Grand Prix is one such new event for Hülkenberg, as he has not yet experienced Circuit Zandvoort F1 car. He said that he looks forward to competing in the Netherlands, as he has close ties to the country and fond memories of racing there in the past.

“The town I was born in is just around the corner from the Netherlands, around 2 km away, so growing up I spent a lot of time karting there and spent a lot of time working with Dutch people. For that reason, I speak Dutch, and I’ve got a lot of good memories. I’ve raced a lot at Zandvoort in Formula BMW, Formula 3 and in A1 Grand Prix.”

“I think it’s a great track, really a rollercoaster with a lot of elevation changes, banking, and a good mix of everything so I’m looking forward to hitting the track in a Formula 1 car for the first time.”

Credit: Andy Hone / LAT Images / Haas F1 Team