Kevin Magnussen: “Hopefully, we’ll be competitive”

Kevin Magnussen is ready to make his first race appearance with Haas in Australia - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Kevin Magnussen will race for his third different Formula 1 team in four years, and with his fourth different power unit, when he takes to the track for the Australian Grand Prix next weekend at the Albert Park track in Melbourne.

The Dane has switched to the Haas F1 Team for 2017 having raced last year for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, after two years racing and testing with the McLaren F1 Team.

Magnussen felt the pre-season testing programme at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a positive experience as he adapted not only to his new team but also the new style of car of 2017, and now he is ready to get the new season underway.

“I think it went well. On my days I got a lot of laps, lots of kilometres, and some very good testing done,” said Magnussen. “It was good to learn about the car, especially this year with the cars being very different to last year. It was very useful. Now I’m just waiting to get back in the car in Australia and get racing again.

“I think it’s fast. The first impression you get when you drive it is how much grip there is. The thing about this year is that everyone has gained a lot of grip and I’m sure everyone had that impression when they got back in their cars. Hopefully, we’ll be competitive. Hopefully, it’s a car that we can work with and improve over the year. The first feelings are positive.”

Magnussen is the first driver to have experience of all four different power units in Formula 1, having raced with Mercedes and Honda at McLaren and with the Renault works team last year, and now will race with Ferrari power with Haas. He feels the upgraded Ferrari unit has good drivability, and everyone should be aiming to continue the reliability they showed during pre-season into Australia.

“To be honest, none of the engines feel very different,” admitted Magnussen. “They all seem pretty similar. They sound a bit different, and operationally they’re slightly different engine to engine, but the Ferrari is very easy to work on. It’s easy to understand and the drivability is very good. Also, the power seems to be good this year, so I’m very happy.

“Reliability is number one. You need to be able to finish a race, and then you can make it perform well after that. We were reliable in testing. We didn’t have any big issues with the power unit at all in testing, and neither did Ferrari. I think that’s a good sign and the power seems to be good as well. No complaints.”

Magnussen knows the importance of having a good start to the year, and did so on his Formula 1 debut back in 2014 with McLaren where he finished on the podium, and hopes 2017 is a year of progress for the Haas team so they can build on their relative success of twenty-nine points of last year.

“It’s always important to have a good start to the year just to kick-start everything,” said Magnussen. “It gives you a boost to have a good beginning. The end is important too, but it’s always nice to start off the year with a good race. We’ll do our best and see what we get.

“My goal for the season, and it’s the same for the team, is to try and improve on the result from last year, which was very good. Going on to then finish eighth in the constructors championship, with 29 points, was a great result for a first-year Formula One team. To improve on that, even just a little bit, would be a good target.”