Kevin Magnussen says the potential shown by the Haas F1 Team in the early stages of the 2019 Formula 1 season is “satisfying” to him.
Magnussen was the sole points scorer for Haas at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, taking sixth place for the American team.
Team-mate Romain Grosjean‘s charge was scuppered by another Australian pitstop calamity for Haas, echoing both drivers’ fate in the 2018 race.
Grosjean’s retirement did not deter Magnussen from saying that he is “very proud” of what Haas achieved in Australia, believing that the pair have the opportunity to be regular double-points scorers throughout the season.
However, for the third year in succession, the Dane warned against inconsistency from creeping into the team as the year progresses if Haas is to reach the top four of the Constructors’ Championship – one place better than it managed in 2018.
“We’re still not happy as we didn’t get both cars in the points but, nonetheless, we had the potential to have both cars as Romain was very, very fast in qualifying and clearly also had the speed in the race,” said Magnussen.
“We would have been sixth and seventh.
“That potential is very satisfying, but we need to complete the job and get both cars in the points.
“We need to have fewer mistakes if we want to be fighting as best-of-the-rest for the remainder of the year.”
26-year-old Magnussen also said that he sees no reason for Haas to fail to bring its Australian speed into Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, at a circuit that has characteristics very different to the Melbourne track.
Haas can take encouragement from pleasing pace in winter testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a venue that poses a similar abrasion rate – albeit at lower temperatures.
“I really don’t see any reason why [Haas cannot be quick in Bahrain],” Magnussen added.
“The tracks are pretty different, with Australia being very bumpy and narrow while Bahrain is very smooth and wide
“They also have very different temperatures – that’ll play a role – but I don’t see any reason why the car shouldn’t be working in Bahrain, also.”
Magnussen also echoed team-mate Grosjean’s projection that the midfield battle could be even closer than 2018, with qualifying in Australia showing just how tight the pack is.
From Scuderia Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc in first to Carlos Sainz Jr. in eighteenth for the McLaren F1 Team, there was just 1.067 seconds separating the field in Qualifying 1.
“I think it’s going to be close again, like last year.
“It’s obviously difficult to say what the battle’s going to be like for the rest of the year, but at least in Australia it was very close, and it looked a lot like last year, maybe even closer.”