Kevin Magnussen has declared that a return to his roots has led him to avoid nerves about a return to racing ahead of this weekend’s season-opening FIA Formula 1 2020 Austrian Grand Prix.
Formula 1 has been on an unexpected hiatus due to the Coronavirus pandemic leading to an extended period without competitive racing.
Many questions have arisen over the drivers’ potential feeling the effects of the eight-month wait since the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but Magnussen has been quick to state that he does not believe that to be the case compensated by his long-awaited return to karting.
“I don’t feel too nervous about it. To give an example, in this time where we haven’t been racing, I’ve picked up karting again“, the Dane said.
“I’ve been away from karting for a lot of years. It really didn’t take me any time to get back into it and be on the pace again.
“It’s really been about 12 years since I was active in karting, with the odd occasion in-between in a kart. It only took a couple of runs and I was totally back into it“, Magnussen added.
Haas F1 Team has surprisingly been the only team not to run a private test event with a two-year-old version of their car, as allowed by the rules set out by the FIA.
Nevertheless, Magnussen has concluded that the nature of motorsport determines that preparation is not comparable to other sports.
“You never really forget it. It would have been better to be doing it every day, but motorsport isn’t a sport like that.
“You can’t compare it with tennis or golf – those athletes, if they missed a few months, would struggle going straight into a tournament if up against players who were training every day.
“In Formula One, nobody trains every day in the car, so I guess that’s what makes the difference – we’re all used to jumping straight in with not too much practice and getting on the pace. It’s the same for everyone so it’s not that big a factor I think“, suggested the Haas driver.
Double-header chance to ‘learn more about the car’
Austria’s Red Bull Ring will host two consecutive races as part of F1’s modified calendar for 2020 and Magnussen has been queried on how the double-header to start the season will impact the teams.
Magnussen explained, “I don’t think it’s going to be a benefit or disadvantage. You, of course, learn more about the car with every track you go to, with different corner speeds, conditions, temperatures, tarmac and stuff like that.
“In that way, we’ll learn slightly less, but it’s going to be good just to get a read on where we stand compared to the other teams and to get racing again.”
The opening race in Spielberg will mark a first for F1 with the event taking place without any fans in attendance, courtesy of the guidelines still in place to combat the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
Although he is raring to get back into the car for the first time since pre-season testing in February, Magnussen has admitted it will create an eerie situation.
“There’s no way to replicate it. It’ll be very quiet and weird with no fans on-site.
“It is what it is, and we’ll just have to try and make the best of it“, he said.
Despite the lack of fans in attendance the ambitious Dane, renowned for his close-quarters racecraft, has vowed the drivers will continue to try and put on a spectacle for everyone watching at home.
“We’ll aim to have good, entertaining races to show on television.
“The atmosphere will obviously be different, not as good, but I’m personally very excited to get back in the car and get back to racing.
“I hope the fans will be able to have fun watching us on the telly“, Magnussen added.