Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Magnussen doesn’t understand Haas’s missing race pace

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Kevin Magnussen says he doesn’t understand why Haas’s race pace is letting them down.

What they say

I don’t really understand it at the moment. We need to understand it, it’s not easy at the moment to understand. It’s frustrating obviously we’ve got a good car that can qualify well and then we can’t convert that into race pace. So some work to do.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Did Ferrari make the right decision to swap Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc?

From a fan’s point of view, the team order was rubbish and unfair on Leclerc. However, from a team’s point of view, it was the right decision as Leclerc was the slower one in that moment. The main issue was the implementation of the team order. They literally waited for Max to catch up before they swapped. Had they done the swap sooner, he [Leclerc] would’ve most likely been able to cover Max or even overtake him at a later stage.

Seeing that this season is quickly becoming a repeat of 2014-2016, Ferrari should let their drivers race and not focus on just putting one driver as their lead driver because I honestly don’t see Vettel nor Leclerc winning the championship this year. The Mercedes is just too good (all round). Ferrari’s look like they’ll be fighting against strategy, reliability and a general lack of coherence.
L (@Lebz)

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  • 44 comments on “Magnussen doesn’t understand Haas’s missing race pace”

    1. On COTD: I think it lacks some logic. Maybe LEC was really slower, but VET wasn’t faster. How would LEC cover VER if he was “blocked” by VET?
      On team orders, I don’t like them, but I understand them. Suppose that VET couldnt resist VER, not swapping would probably land VET into 5th – a whole 5 points in the championship. I can’t see that Ferrari would not favor VET, even though LEC seemed faster last three races..

    2. I’ve never seen team orders that early in the season. It’s a disgrace if you ask me.

      1. @afonic
        How about Bottas moving twice for Hamilton in the 2017 Bahrein GP.

        1. Also, Malaysia 2013, Vettel and Rosberg both given team orders

        2. I’ve never seen 3 team orders in the first 3 races of the season. Absolutely pathetic.

          1. 3 team orders to same driver to keep behind or let past his teammate. the driver who lost title 2 years in a row and making mistakes which even rookies on grid haven’t made as frequently.

        3. Or Ferrari telling Charles to keep position when he was 3 seconds faster some time ago.

      2. You’d have absolutely hated Melbourne 1998…

    3. RE- COTD

      I agree, They were right to try Vettel in front. He genuinely did look to have more pace in the locker behind Leclerc and the Mercs were just slowly but steadily driving away from the pair of them. They had to try something so it made sense. Not great for fans but the correct call at that point.

      The problem was entirely how they handled Leclerc once they’d called for the swap, even when it was clear Vettel didn’t have as much pace in hand as hoped, rather than re-address the issue and try to aid Leclerc in getting back in front, they basically just left Leclerc to rot out there and ruined his race at every possible turn to aid Vettels race. They even ended up basically sacrificing Leclerc to try and hold Bottas up and costing the team more points in a desperate attempt to help Vettel.

      Leclerc’s China race was basically Kimi Raikkonens entire 2nd Ferrari spell in a microcosm. Thankfully, CL seems much more likely to fight it than KR was.

      1. They even ended up basically sacrificing Leclerc to try and hold Bottas up and costing the team more points in a desperate attempt to help Vettel.

        Great comment, @mrcento.
        I don’t think a 1 stopper would have helped, but at least that would have given him an alternative strategy rather than just sacrificing himself for Vettel.
        Even the missed opportunity of not going for FLAP (would have been easy) was Ferrari’s way of helping Vettel (by the time Leclerc had to pit Gasly did not have the FLAP yet).

      2. @mrcento SV was tailing CL very closely when they decided to let him have a run at the Mercs. It appeared to everyone that CL was holding SV back while the Mercs were slowly growing their lead. Once SV was past CL he surely did not have the pace to catch up the Mercs but nor was CL tailing SV closely like SV had been tailing CL. CL was showing less potential than SV in terms of the highest finishing spot for both drivers.

        It makes no sense to claim they intentionally ruined CL’s race to maximize SV’s. Of course they were trying to maximize both drivers’ chances but CL never had quite as much pace as SV and they were left to deal with him wrt Max and a decision to try to give CL the freshest tires for a run at the end that nearly worked. CL does have a hand to play in this. His pace wasn’t strong enough in China. Let’s not forget that even if this was some malicious desperate attempt to help SV finish as high as possible, which it was not, just a racing decision, that is also helping the whole team. This is not SV vs CL. This is Ferrari vs Mercedes who are already looking to run away with the Championships.

        1. You’re supposed to put: ‘IMO’ at the end… You always give your opinions as statements of fact… ;-)

    4. Pierre Gasly: “I’m slow

      That much of a quote is enough.

      For LEC let’s just hope he will continue to develop himself and keep his head cool. His toughest battle for now will be not against any another driver or even his teammate but his own team. Today’s greatest drivers, like Lewis or Max, united their teams around themselves, but the difference is they had full support from beginning. If Charles can turn the whole Ferrari team towards him by showing results, character, calmness and confidence, he will become one of them if not greater.

    5. All this talk about Ferrari. Not one mention of the incredible job that the Mercedes crew did to pit both cars within seconds. Incredible.
      Wolf owes the bunch a few beers (or is that Fredos) for that demonstration of brilliance.

      1. It’s there in the linked article, and you even brought it up in the comment section :P

      2. That double stop was very neat and really stamped a “Mercedes were Here!” sign on the weekend for me.

    6. The thing in Leclerc’s favour is that previous Ferrari “number 2s” usually weren’t quicker than the chosen number 1. He is showing he can match and outperform Vettel. The situation won’t stay like this, he can’t slow down to let Vettel by when he is way down the road…

      1. he can’t slow down to let Vettel by when he is way down the road…

        I am so looking forward to that situation and fully expect to see it a lot this season :)

        1. @nullapax Yeah, I mean look at how much he had to slow on the straight this weekend to let Vettel by. I hope he did that on purpose.

          1. This weekend CL was not quicker than SV in the race. Let’s take it a race at a time.

    7. ”The most exciting moment of the race for me was when I spun on the formation lap.”
      – LOL, and that technically didn’t even happen in the race.

      I couldn’t agree more with Giedo.

      Regarding the COTD: Ferrari’s just resorted to the team order tactics way too early into the season. I could perfectly understand doing so much further into the season, for example, in September or October if by then only one of the drivers had a realistic shot at the WDC anymore, but only three races into the season, and there have already been three cases of similar type by Ferrari in as many races.

      1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
        15th April 2019, 9:23

        Vettel as no 1 is still the right decision – from the boardroom perspective.
        Ferrari’s Board of Directors will want their main i-n-v-e-s-t-m-e-n-t to pay off, and that is Vettel. It doesn’t look good from the

        To make his mark (and eventually sway Ferrari’s board to steer their investments his way), Leclerc needs to be putting his car decisively on pole, as he did in Bahrain. He needs to do it again.

        1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
          15th April 2019, 9:24

          End of missing sentence should be: “…from the fans point of view.”

    8. I agree with Cotd and am hoping that Ferrari sort out their strategies a bit better in future and that they don’t try to crush Leclercs spirit so he becomes just a rear gunner for Seb.

      Even they couldn’t be that blind to the reality of the situation could they?

    9. The good thing about Vettel annoying the media, in particular RaceFans and Keith, is that finally we have what could be considered words of praise to Raikonen, even though there was the need to revert back to an odd number of GPs and to a win that ends an immense winning-less streak for Kimi.

      The people will take it

      1. Okay, but do you know which Ferrari driver led the most odd numbered race laps in the last 8 race weekends where the sun rises on the left side of the Start/Finish line? Coincidence?

    10. Maybe time for HAAS to consider another driver pairing to kick them to the next level, because let’s be honest, neither Mag or Gro are potential race winners.

      Also watching the Netflix documentary, it looks like Stiener doesn’t particularly even want Gro to be there, while treating Mag like the golden child. Doesn’t seem to make for a healthy environment.

      1. Sorry, nonsense. Context: At the time of filming Grosjean had had an absolutely torrid time, while Magnussen had delivered with the material at their disposal. Grosjean since then got his rhythm back for the rest of the season.
        This year its clear the car is a bit less good – and tilted towards qualifying speed – potentially going through its rubber too fast in the race with the added weight of fuel. If a driver can one-lap a P5 grid position in a non-Mercedes, non-Ferrari, non-RB, he can probably also race fast enough to win races in either of those. For those with short memories Grosjean has several podiums in competitive, but not class-leading cars. Magnussen finished on the podium in his first race ahead of a WC team mate. Those dudes in their medium-budget Haas cars can race as good as the majority on the grid. The car has issues they need to sort.

        1. Thomas, whilst it is true that Magnussen did beat Button in the first race of the 2014 season, the full picture over the season was more emphatically in Button’s favour – Button beat Magnussen 10-9 in qualifying and, in terms of race finishing position, it was 14-3 in Button’s favour. That single podium finish was somewhat unrepresentative of Magnussen’s form that season – out of his entire points total of 55 points that season, one third of them came from that single podium finish in Melbourne.

          That does underline what I feel is the biggest issue that both Magnussen and Grosjean have right now – they might be capable of lapping extremely quickly in the right circumstances, but in recent years they’ve not shown consistent form across the whole of the season.

          Last year, we saw Grosjean start off poorly, but finish more strongly, whilst Magnussen started off more strongly but then faded away later on in the season. It was that lack of consistency that meant Renault didn’t want to keep Magnussen, as well as accusations that Magnussen just didn’t show the interest in trying to improve his form that other drivers (such as Hulkenberg, whom Renault were courting at the time) showed.

          1. No, but.. there is a reason Hulkenberg has never won a race; that Perez has not, that Raikonnen only won one race in -5- years back for a top team, that Ricciardo struggles to be consistent now, that Sainz is nowhere, that Kvyat, Giovanazzi, Russell and Rubica, etc. etc. are struggling for consistency – it is that getting a setup right and getting good weekends is easier on paper than true F1, especially when you are in a crowded mid-pack, where the first corner can ruin your weekend. Gasly this year is proof how difficult it can be to put it together, and that’s for a big budget consistent top 3 team that has every resource at their disposal to produce a stable performance. Haas
            is consistently within 1.5 secs of teams with 3-4 times the budget, and that’s with supposedly much worse drivers?
            It just doesn’t add up.
            (Of all the engines Ferrari produce and test on the dyno I struggle to believe Ferrari choose to ship the very best ones to Haas..yes?)
            Finally, Button was in his 15th season, Magnussen in his first. Im not saying Grosjean and Magnussen are the best-best, but I cannot point to a lot of guys on the grid whom could turn a Haas into more than it is. They finished 5th last year and somehow those drivers crossed the finish line enough time to collect those points. Ahead of 50% of the field. The ones ahead would never ever replace their current seats to go to Haas?

    11. Interesting news in W series (from yesterday) with driver test and number choice.
      Quite impressed by the number of them choosing a number because of Dad’s racing number.

      Another thought which I did have before is that by having W series and a selection of women within a same serie instead of support to women across various series is that they can provide them all with good and equal training as well as track time (this should be the goal afterwards). I am not sure they all have that kind of support when driving in lower categories. I guess that many young drivers are just happy driving and it’s only when they get spotted by the like of Ferrari, Mercedes, RBR and co that they enter an academy and get a “real” training.
      I am starting to see some advantages to this serie and I am eager to follow it a bit, see where it leads.

      Too bad that they didn’t announce if it will be broadcast live yet.

    12. I think those saying it’s too early in the season for team orders are missing that this wasn’t a team order in terms of a driver who had looked faster all race/weekend been told to move aside to let the slower on the day #1 past.

      This was more of a strategic order where the team believed at the time that the driver behind was been held up & would be able to go faster to chase down the cars ahead if he was let through. It was no different to similar tactics used by many other teams at all stages of the season under similar circumstances.

      If you have a driver behind his team mate who looks like he is been held up & could go faster to chase down the cars ahead you swap places & let him try, That’s fairly common even during the first few races & something you would be silly not to do.

      That Vettal made a few mistakes that damaged his tyres once he got by & wasn’t able to fully capitalize on whatever extra pace he did have couldn’t be known when the decision was made. At the time they made it Vettel looked like he could go faster so it was the right decision to make if they stood any chance of pushing Mercedes.

      1. @stefmeister Exactly and well said.

        As I see it, there are only two drivers on each team, and at Ferrari they are having to make racing decisions against an obviously strong Mercedes team. Having SV let past CL who was doing nothing to reel in the Mercs was a racing decision, but some around here are predisposed to only see this sort of order as a malicious and political effort to favour SV and sweep CL under the carpet, when they have no need nor desire to do such a thing. So easy for some to look at things with the luxury of hindsight.

        1. “So easy for some to look at things with the luxury of hindsight.” while others use rose-tinted spectacles… ;-)

      2. I think you’re quite right… but… in other situations where the following driver is given a chance to show his stuff, if he fails to do so he is instructed to give the place back… Just another thought. ;-)

    13. One more thing about the team orders from Ferrari – tried the same thing three times in a row, three times in a row it didn’t work. Try something else. Oh, and please Ferrari, not one more single comment about “they are free to race”.

      1. But they are free to race. CL was not racing the Mercs when he appeared to be holding SV up in China. CL ignoring the order in Australia after he had blown his start but reeled SV back in, was not met with hard feelings. CL showed he had the pace even after the blown start, and he backed that up when he ignored the order, and that ignoring of the order became a non-issue, even with SV. They simply thought ok CL blew his start but we’re back to 1-2 so we’re good. CL ignores the order and as long as he got cleanly by SV and they didn’t tangle, then ok, we’re good. Even SV understood it. Some folks around here are more outraged than the very players involved at Ferrari.

        1. “Some folks around here are more outraged than the very players involved at Ferrari.” while others are just outraged when some folks around here dare to have a different opinion… ;-)

    14. Regarding the Pierre Gasly quote I think there has already been speculation in some parts of the media already, that Pierre is somehow not up to the role. Not very much on Race Fans though I note.

      Some people have begun speculating about how soon will Gasly be replaced by Albon, already! Of course RBR have a track record in this regard.

      I think this is very unfair. He’s been fairly average so far but he’s only had 3 races and I think he just needs more time to adapt and settle in. I suspect the car had been pretty much designed around Max’s requirements which of course may not immediately suit Pierre. Then of course just because Alex Albon has had a good race doesn’t mean Pierre Gasly has automatically had a bad one.

      I just hope he is given more time, e.g. a season, and we don’t see any premature swapping as RBR have done before.

      1. @phil-f1-21 From what I can glean from Horner’s comments PG will be fine. ‘Some people’ or ‘some media’ can say what they want, but in reality Max himself has had issues coming to grips with the car too, so why wouldn’t a relative rookie new to the team? But then I have consistently said all during the off-season that PG would be starting off on his hind foot as the newbie on the team and as someone going up against a driver as mighty as Max. Sure I suppose it is a possibility that PG could be swapped if he continues to struggle, as there is a precedent, but I think that is highly unlikely. They’ll nurture him and help him all the while trying to make their car more competitive with the top two teams long before they oust PG. It’s been 3 races for goodness sake. And F1 is supposed to be hard. PG deserves peoples’ patience.

      2. GtisBetter (@)
        15th April 2019, 20:59

        I think most people have some patience with him. Just like ricciardo needs some time. Of course ricciardo has already proven a lot and doesn’t have a what looks like an impressive rookie like Albon gunning for his seat. But he should be fine this season

    15. “PG deserves peoples’ patience.”
      Come on man… Grow a pair… Are we men or ‘girlies’…? ;-)

    16. Something must be setting Haas back.

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