Having found success at his first ever sprint weekend in Imola, Kevin Magnussen looks forward to another opportunity to earn points at the Austrian Grand Prix.
“Imola was my first Sprint and we had a good weekend, we scored points in both the Sprint and the main race, so it’s always nice to have a good first experience so hopefully we can do the same in Austria.”
He added that, based on seeing the sprints last year and experiencing one this season, the current set-up of having your Grand Prix starting position based on your sprint finishing position deters drivers from going all-out– something that could be solved with slight changes to the rules.
“I watched them last year and the big question is whether or not you want to take a risk in the Sprint. If you didn’t qualify for your position in the main race during the Sprint and instead the qualifying on Friday was your starting position for both the Sprint and the main race, then you would be able to go for it in the Sprint without having to take risks for your starting position. Maybe that could be a solution to make people go for it a bit more in the Sprint.”
Magnussen welcomes the possibility of rain at the Red Bull Ring this weekend, as the VF-22 has proven to perform well in wet conditions, with Haas F1 Team locking out the third row after a wet Canadian Grand Prix qualifying.
“It seems that we have a good car in the wet. Somehow, it seems more competitive when it’s a wet track, so naturally you hope for wet all the time. I did do a lot of karting in the wet as I grew up in Denmark, but I don’t think that’s why. There’s a lot less grip and you feel on the edge in the car in the wet so there’s more risk in a way, and it’s more exhilarating to drive, it just adds a little more.”
As far as performance at the high-elevation track, Magnussen said that their car has remained consistent from venue to venue, which will make it difficult to predict how it will react. However, he maintains that tyre behaviour has been key to finding pace.
“We haven’t actually really been able to say on this type of track if we’re stronger or weaker, it seems that our car is about the same at most tracks – it’s more of a tire thing. In Melbourne, the only place where I feel like we were uncompetitive, it was more about the tires, being able to get them into the window, so it’s hard to predict.”
“I’m excited about simply going to Austria. It’s a great track, a great venue, and it’s always nice.” – Mick Schumacher
Team-mate Mick Schumacher looks forward to competing in Austria for the sprint weekend, though the German driver finds the format to be somewhat too fast-paced to be able to truly understand how the car behaves before jumping into competition.
“I’m excited about simply going to Austria. It’s a great track, a great venue, and it’s always nice. It’s good weather usually so I bring my bike and go cycling with the team. I’ve done sprints a lot in some format in Formula 2 but I like driving free practice sessions and being able to really perfect the car, and then go into qualifying.”
“Everything builds up to that big event whereas I feel with the Sprint you have one free practice, one qualifying and then you go straight into the Sprint itself and sometimes it can feel a bit rushed.”
Like his team-mate, Schumacher also sees the chance of rain as a positive, a mentality that he said can offer an edge competitively.
“I want the wet, I want it to rain. This year as well with the car it definitely helps, so that obviously helps for motivation in the rain. If you already have the thought that you’re happy about rain, that can change a lot in how you approach it compared to a person who doesn’t like rain and doesn’t want to drive – it’s all about mindset.”
When asked about conservation of the brakes and engine at Red Bull Ring’s high elevation, Schumacher said it’s about striking a balance and ultimately prioritising between performance and taking care of the car.
“I think this year more than ever it’s a matter of conserving the brakes and trying to maximise what you have. Those things unfortunately don’t go hand in hand so you’re kind of on the limit of both and it’s about what do you prioritize – making the car as quick as it can go or making the car reliable as it can be, so it’s up to us to find.”