Kevin Magnussen believes that the Haas F1 Team can continue their current performance trend and expressed his delight in the progress made by the team from a fluctuating 2017.
Haas are expected to be in the hotly-contested fight for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, with the McLaren F1 Team and the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team seen as their earliest and most threatening rivals. The American team sit in seventh place in the standings on a modest 11 points after three races, however, the pitstop farces that brought an end to a very promising Australian Grand Prix for both Magnussen and team-mate Romain Grosjean has considerably dented their points tally.
Magnussen says that in order to compete further up the field, Haas must eradicate those types of mistakes and find consistency – an attribute that was lacking last season.
“It’s not going to be easy,” the Dane said, speaking in the Thursday Press Conference for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“We’ve started with a good car and done a good job over the winter. I think we’re in this situation and we haven’t had a perfect start to the year so I think there’s more in it if we can get through the races and clear out any mistakes.
“Last year, consistency wasn’t our biggest strength.”
Magnussen added that whilst the VF-18 is easier to drive and manage in comparison to it’s temperamental predecessor, the more experienced Renault and McLaren squads will be tough acts to beat.
“Our car this year is a little easier to work with and seems like it has a broader window for its performance,” he explained. “I’m hoping that we can at least be much more competitive thought the whole season than last year – but whether we can keep up to those big guys, it’s not going to be easy but we’ll do our best.”
The 25-year-old elaborated on the car’s positive characteristics, including an increase in rear grip. More encouragingly for both Magnussen and Grosjean, the VF-18 has avoided major troubles with its brakes – bar Grosjean’s minor Free Practice smoke show in China a fortnight ago.
“It’s only been three races but I think the car is obviously better than last year,” he projected. “It’s performing.
“You can set it up for what you prefer as a driver, in your driving style and it will still work. It’s just a little easier to drive. A little more forgiving, more predictable and it obviously has more grip.
“In terms of aero it’s more consistent. I prefer a consistent car, especially on the rear, a rear that I can trust and depend on and predict. This car has a good consistency in that regard. I think that helps – but generally just being more competitive makes things easier.”