Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Magnussen: New wings make it much easier to follow cars

2019 F1 season

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Kevin Magnussen says his first impression of F1’s new wings is they do make it easier for cars to follow each other more closely.

New rules for the 2019 F1 season have increased front wings to two metres wide but forced teams to use simpler designs in a bid to prevent them generating ‘outwash’. The rear wings, including the DRS flaps, are also larger this season.

The Haas driver described how he followed another car for a lap and a half before overtaking it during today’s test. Magnussen said his car felt “more consistent and stable” while in his rival’s slipstream.

“There’s so many people, even here when the car was in the wind tunnel before we put the cars on track, a lot of people were saying that it wouldn’t make any difference.

“But following a car today I felt a big difference. It felt completely different. I could actually follow.”

Magnussen admitted he was lapping considerably quicker than the other car. “I was a lot faster than the guy I was following and I passed him the lap that I caught him, I got past him. I must have been around two seconds faster, in which case you would have also passed him last year.

“But it just felt, feeling the car behind the other car, felt different. Much better.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing if other tracks are the same,” he added. “There’s always different factors that you might have overlooked so you come to another track and it might be different but first signs are good I would say in this following aspect.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “Magnussen: New wings make it much easier to follow cars”

  1. That’s good news. But cars could follow anyway it’s just that their tyres were getting destroyed.

    1. Right, but if one can get close enough to battle and pass, being behind a car and destroying tires in the process is a moot point. That’s my thought anyway.

    2. @jaymcg Even with tyres less sensitive to over-heating following still wouldn’t have been any easier the last two seasons than it was. The fact, to the matter, in the end, is that the aero is/has been the main culprit behind the following struggles rather than the tyres.

      1. @jerejj that’s what I just said.

        1. @jaymcg Not really, you implied the opposite, i.e., that the tyres would be the primary culprit behind the following struggles rather than the aero. That’s how I interpreted the wording of your original post.

          1. Then your interpretation is wrong.

      2. @jerejj Exactly, because they have had much sturdier tires in the past and have had ‘Trulli trains’ to boot. Tires sturdier enough to handle dirty air better, are tires sturdy enough to allow the car ahead to keep up it’s pace and push when necessary to defend. The more the cars are dependent on clean air, the more they are harmed in dirty air. The lead car and the trailing car are on the same tires, no matter their makeup, but the trailing car will always be in different air. How much that affects the trailing car is up to F1.

  2. An encouraging word…

    1. …is seldom heard

      1. ….and the sky’s are not cloudy all day!

        Sorry, paraphrasing a goofy American song :)

        1. Hahaha…

      2. ‘cuz what can the deer and the antelope say?

  3. Fantastic news

  4. I’ve heard other drivers over the past week say it’s no different to last year & certainly watching the testing coverage the cars don’t seem able to run any closer than they were last season.

  5. I was hearing last week that the general consensus was that it was no different to last year.

    Something else I was hearing last week is that many in the paddock including a lot of the drivers are concerned that the new much larger DRS is going to make overtaking far too easy. The new rear wings are creating a ton of drag so reducing that via opening DRS is giving a greater speed gain which is also happening much faster.
    Additionally the new rear wings are also punching a bigger hole in the air which is therefore producing a much bigger slipstream which is been felt from further back which on-top of DRS is going to be giving following cars are substantial speed advantage.

    I have also heard at least one conspiracy that making DRS more powerful than anyone would think of as been acceptable is actually the goal in order to turn more people against it which would make it easier to get rid of.

    1. Racecar is racecar backwards
      27th February 2019, 5:04

      Are the new rear wings they are running in testing the minimum size? Or can they still run skinnier versions like at Monza? Read a few comments from drivers about more drag, but I’m guessing it must be more complicated than just “run less rear wing then”.

    2. I have also heard at least one conspiracy that making DRS more powerful than anyone would think of as been acceptable is actually the goal in order to turn more people against it which would make it easier to get rid of.

      woah, that sounds so intrinsically F1 it might actually be real!

      1. I would have thought there wouldn’t be many that would need convincing that drs has to go. Brawn certainly has never been a fan of it.

        I will not be surprised if the drivers don’t see too much difference over last year, as the change was relatively minor (yes I know some have called it major due to the spillover effects of changing the front wing, but the changes could have been more drastic and much more costly and involved), and the teams have tried to outwash in other ways to make up for the front wing change. But I do think the front wing could play a small role in improving things, combined with theoretically slightly sturdier tires. And not all teams will have found as efficient ways to continue outwashing like Wolff has admitted they have at Mercedes.

        My hope and frankly full on expectation is that for 2021 the cars will be substantially less clean air dependent, which will mean there will be no need for the integrity-damaging drs. Nobody will need convincing that drs will have to go because it will simply be regulated out while they are doing a ground up restoration of the cars.

        Put another way, for me at least, if they still have drs in 2021 then they will have failed at improving the show, which to me can only come from making the cars much less clean air dependent and therefore legitimately able to follow more closely. Keeping drs after 2020 will be an indication to me that in spite of all Brawn and teams unprecedented wind tunnel work, they simply cannot and will not rid themselves of their aero downforce addiction. That would be hugely disappointing when Liberty has this golden opportunity to correct things. That is why I am so convinced that drs will be gone. I simply cannot see it any other way.

    3. Good. I’m glad DRS will be stronger. Getting stuck behind? No problem with DRS.

  6. Well I really hope he is right but history suggests he may just be an up and coming/going driver parroting the official PR line. Already on the 1st. day we heard of a driver going off due to being too close to the car ahead.

    1. Magnussen is not known for following any pr lines, rather the opposite. Speaks his mind.

    2. That doesn’t sound like Magnussen, tbf

      1. @hohum
        I don’t think K-Mag does the PR machine some others tend to, he seems to just say what he thinks.
        Seems encouraging but we wont know until they start racing, and maybe even round 2 as Melbourne isn’t a great overtaking track, buts lets hope he is correct :)

  7. This is encouraging, and I’d be willing to bet some cars will be better than others at following. I will be curious to see if the cars struggling either have distinctly divided end plates, upwash and y250 areas on the front wing or the all-around front wing that tries to mesh those areas.

    1. YES! Totally agree, @rpiian

      The new regs have created a great deal of diversity in front wing philosophies and I can’t wait to see which will be dominant and under which conditions…straights vs. curves…clean air vs. following cars, etc.

      1. @daved Indeed! Something I will watch for this season. Obviously there’s a lot more to it than just the front wing, but it’s still fun speculating.

  8. Maybe, just maybe Kevin you’ve actually developed a bit of car control by now. I mean, how many years is it?
    Anyway that’s encouraging. Now what can you do about keeping your head focused on racing? Am certain that Gene and Gunther would welcome an improvement there too.
    Hey, perhaps you could pass some tips on to your team-mate in that regard. Like you, he struggles too often also…..

    1. Well that seemed unnecessary.

      He never did have any car control problems, he was able to put the car where ever he wanted.
      None of his slip ups bar Baku, was because I wasn’t able to control the car.

      Finding an acceptable path within the rules that doesn’t upset the media and label him as a badboy is another matter tho.

  9. I’m hoping that’s true. But if it’s indeed possible to follow each other more closely, we are having a new problem: the ridiculously large DRS.

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