Interview with driver Haas F1 Team Kevin Magnussen
We’re now a third of the way through Haas F1 Team’s second year. How would you assess the season and the team’s development to date?
Kevin Magnussen: “I think it’s been very good. The first season for the team was very impressive. They delivered some good results. The second season was always going to be difficult to improve on, but actually I think we’re on our way to doing that. We’ve been in the points in the same number of races this year than all of last year, so it’s already going well in terms of taking a step forward. That was our main target – to at least improve on last year and make a step forward.”
The Canadian Grand Prix was another example of how tight the midfield is this year, where teams are separated by just tenths of a second. Everyone is talking about the battle between Ferrari and Mercedes, but how would you characterize the midfield battle between Force India, Toro Rosso, Williams, Renault and Haas?
Kevin Magnussen: “It’s just that it’s so close, even the smallest mistake can cost you a lot. That’s how racing should be. It’s how it’s always been before Formula One in all the other categories I’ve done. It’s kind of really cool that it’s back to real racing again.”
With last year being the first race at Baku City Circuit, time in the simulator was the only way to prepare for the race. How did your time in the simulator compare with the reality of your first lap around the track? And if there was no simulator time, how did you prepare yourself to compete at an unknown venue?
Kevin Magnussen: “I never tried the Baku City Circuit in a simulator before actually racing there. It was a cool experience to just go on a track you don’t even have 100 percent idea which way the corners are going. I really had to learn the circuit from scratch. It was a cool experience and the track was really cool. I’m looking forward to going back again.”
Baku became the fastest street circuit in Formula One when it debuted last year and speeds have only increased this year. What do you expect with this newer, faster and wider car on a circuit that’s only a year old?
Kevin Magnussen: “It’s going to be fun. The corners are going to be faster this year because of the increased downforce. We’re going to be a bit slower on the straights, so I suspect Baku might be one of the tracks where we’re not going to be that much faster than the old cars, but it’s still going to be massively fun and challenging in the corners.”
Was there anything from last year’s race at Baku that’s applicable to this year’s race, or is it all out the window because the cars are so different?
Kevin Magnussen: “Now I know the track, and I learned which way the corners are going, coming back this year will be easier to adjust to the track. A couple of corners might be easy flat now, maybe even turn 13 will be flat now, which it wasn’t last year. That will be a cool experience.”
Most first-year events have some growing pains. But last year’s race seemed to come off incredibly well. What did you think of Baku’s first race?
Kevin Magnussen: “It was a pretty cool race. Baku offers good opportunities to overtake. There’s a lot of action in the race – that’s always good.”
What was the most challenging part of the Baku City Circuit and why?
Kevin Magnussen: “The most challenging part was sector two. It’s very low speed, very narrow. It’s easy to make a mistake.”
What is your favorite part of the Baku City Circuit and why?
Kevin Magnussen: “I would say sector two, in all the narrow bits. It’s good fun and you have to be very precise.”
Describe a lap around Baku City Circuit.
Kevin Magnussen: “I guess it’s a mixture of Monza and Monaco – which is pretty unusual. I’m looking forward to it.”