Kevin Magnussen: “I really had to learn the circuit from scratch”

Kevin Magnussen is aiming for points this weekend in Azerbaijan - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Kevin Magnussen has revealed he raced at the Baku Street Circuit in 2016 without learning the circuit beforehand on a simulator, which for the Dane was a cool experience to do.

The Haas F1 Team racer, then racing for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, started from the pit lane last season before finishing fourteenth, but will arrive in Azerbaijan expecting some of the corners to be much faster than they were a year ago.

Magnussen feels that lap times may not be that much quicker this season with the pace of the Formula 1 cars slower down the straights, but he feels it will be a fun and challenging weekend.

“I never tried the Baku City Circuit in a simulator before actually racing there,” admitted Magnussen. “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.

“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.

“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.”

Looking back to the opening seven races of the season, Magnussen feels it has been a positive start to his Haas career, with the Dane securing two of the teams’ six points finishes, with the twenty-four-year-old sitting thirteenth in the championship standings.

“I think it’s been very good,” said Magnussen. “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.

“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.”