Kevin Magnussen says the way that pre-season testing unfolds gives an indication of what kind of season is coming, and he is confident that his Haas F1 Team can provide him with a good car for 2020.
On the back of a disappointing campaign for Haas last year, hopes are high that the team can regroup and return to the kind of form that brought them fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship in 2018.
The Dane says he can still remember the excitement of running in his first pre-season testing programme back in 2014, and heading into the 2020 testing programme, he says he is going out there to enjoy himself again this year.
“I can still clearly remember my first pre-season test back in 2014,” said Magnussen. “I was so excited to get in the car and get on-track with the rest of the grid. I enjoyed it a lot. My advice would have been just that, go out and enjoy it, take your time, and don’t worry about the pressure.
“If the test shows you’ve got a bad car, then the expectation for the first race is a little bit different. Similarly, if you know you’ve got a good car, then you’re very excited for the first race. I’m very excited for the test this year. I’m confident we’ll have a good car.”
Magnussen says it takes a few laps to get back into the swing of things after the long off-season, and it is important not to go all-out in the car immediately as he looks to shed the rustiness that’s built up.
“When you get into the car in pre-season testing you’ve been out of the cockpit for a few months,” said the Dane. “You spend the first few laps getting back into it again and getting up to speed.
“After that there’s a whole lot of test program to work on before you actually get to push the limits fully in the car. There’s no point going all-out in the car immediately. You have to stay on-track and try to be consistent to get good data and feedback for the team.”
Magnussen ‘Confident’ in Haas to Provide ‘Another Good Car This Year’
Haas has been quick during pre-season testing for the past two seasons but endured very different campaigns, finishing fifth in 2018 before dropping to ninth last year. Magnussen scored only twenty points across the year, thirty-six points shsort of what he achieved the year before, while team-mate Romain Grosjean could only manage eight points.
Despite this, Magnussen goes into the new testing season knowing he will need to do a professional job to try and benefit the team, with the Dane hoping the lessons learned from last year translates into a more competitive car in 2020.
“I think, generally, you try to approach testing the same way independent of your own expectations and fears or worries,” said Magnussen. “You try to go about it in a professional way, and you try to help the team as well as you can.
“You have to do what it takes to get yourself up to speed. Then you’re just hopeful, and maybe anxious, about getting a good car. You just have to make sure you help the team the best way you can to correct any faults or weaknesses there might be with the car. In the last two pre-season tests, the team has provided a car that’s felt very good and very competitive.
“In 2018 that then proved to be very competitive throughout the season, leading to our top-five placing. We didn’t achieve that in 2019, but at least in pre-season testing the car felt very quick, and we showed over the season that it was very quick at times. It just had some weaknesses that proved to be a big problem in the races.
“I’m confident that the team is going to provide another good car this year. Hopefully we’ve learned from the mistakes of last year so we can have a good season. I’m very confident on that.”