Kevin Magnussen admits that looking back at his career in Formula 1, there are plenty of things he could have done better, but he feels he leaves the sport at the end of 2020 as a much better driver.
The Dane made his debut in Formula 1 back in 2014 for the McLaren F1 Team and scored an excellent podium finish on his debut race in Australia, although that would be his only trip to the podium during his tenure in the sport.
He raced thereafter for the Renault F1 Team and then finally the Haas F1 Team, the latter in which he competed with for the past four seasons but with limited success. He feels he has performed better on a number of occasions than he did when he scored his podium, but the car beneath him was unable to let him finish again as high up as he did in Australia.
However, despite this, he leaves for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021 confident that he has improved as a driver during his time in Formula 1.
“If I go through all the races from back then, there are so many things I could have done better,” said Magnussen to The Race. “Even today, I’ll look back and find many things that I could have done better [on a weekend]. So that’s always the case. But certainly in my first year.
“If I think about the fact that I was second in my very first F1 race, the driver I was then, compared to the driver I am now, I’m so much better now.
“And I can’t believe that I got on the podium then and haven’t gone back since because I’ve done so many drives that were 100 times better than that drive.”
Magnussen’s time with Haas started promisingly, but in both 2019 and 2020, it was a struggle just to score points, and he was let go by the team at the end of the year. Never-the-less, he says he became a more confident driver during his time there despite the poor results.
“There’s a lot of things that play into becoming a more rounded driver,” said Magnussen. “I think your decision-making just becomes better and better every day, every year.
“Whether it be decisions of which direction to go with the set-up of the car, in terms of your driving technique in different conditions or different tracks, different corner types, decisions on strategy.
“All the decisions you make become more accurate the more experience you get. And I think if you analyse things and you think about every step you take afterwards, then there’s always things you can learn from that will then go into your backpack of experience.
“So the next time you have to take a decision that is similar to something you’ve tried before, you’ll be more accurate. You feel more confident as well every year, you feel more relaxed about things, and you don’t get as pressured and nervous in different situations.
“You feel more at ease, and more content with what you do.”