Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Magnussen: drivers that want less downforce can’t drive these fast cars

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In the round-up: Kevin Magnussen says drivers asking for less downforce “want to go back to what they were good at.”

What they say

Those drivers that want to have less downforce, it’s because they can’t drive these fast cars. They want to go back to what they were good at but that’s their own thing – nobody wants slower cars. I think we could have more horsepower because we’ve got so much grip it’s unbelievable. But driving these cars is just phenomenal, there’s nothing better in the world. Nothing – there’s one thing that comes close – but it’s absolutely fantastic driving these cars, when you’ve got low fuel and new tyres it’s just incredible. And if we could have that, with more horsepower and the ability to follow a bit better then I think it would be great.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Robbie thinks Gasly’s form this year isn’t too hard to explain, ahead of the French driver’s home Grand Prix

Personally I’m not that surprised at Gasly’s performance as even mighty Max hasn’t been as strong at some tracks like Monaco as last year. They have admitted they’re lacking something, and certainly have not complained about the Pu. Max is a fantastic anomaly and was always going to be tough to match. I think they know that he is not only exceptional, he is also the more engrained veteran in the team. Without being a fly on the wall to know what exactly is being said internally, I would like to think RBR is taking some blame for not having quite the car as last year (perhaps much to do with this year’s tires) and are being patient with newbie Gasly. So much this year depends on being able to get the tires to work, which imho should never have to be the first and foremost goal. They should just work so these boys can go racing.

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On this day in F1

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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  • 41 comments on “Magnussen: drivers that want less downforce can’t drive these fast cars”

    1. I have no doubt that driving a F1 car – travelling the world, paid in the millions of dollas tune – is amazing.
      But this cover 20 people. The other 6 billlion would like to enjoy some sensible competition based on less aero dependent cars.

      1. I’m sure for simply driving the newest f1 cars are amazing. Incredible amount of downforce, huge tires and enough electronics to make it very easy and comfortable for its speed. But for racing the cars have too much downforce creating too much dirty air causing the huge amount of aero be too sensitive to dirty air. The engines are too heavy and for that reason f1 needs all that downforce to get back the lap time it loses because of the weight of these engines. The thing is we could have the same lap times with less aero and lighter engines. Or we could go down multiple levels of downforce and make cars that are challenging to drive and can create closer racing. Not just because it is easier to follow other cars but the teams would be closer to each others as well.

        People talk about the sport having big issues with the way bernie left it and the biggest issues are the the massive downforce levels and the engine. The economic issues can be directly traced to the engine and the poor level of competition since 2014 can be traced to the engine and the poor on-track action to the 2017 increase in downforce. Now we are stuck with things like drs and part standardization because for some reason people in f1 want to cling on this completely failed hybrid engine+massive downforce concept.

        1. @socksolid, you really are rewriting history there to fit your own agenda, since there were clear financial issues long before the current engines came in.

          There are several teams on the grid now that were on the verge of bankruptcy during the previous V8 era. Lotus were on the verge of bankruptcy, as evidenced by their pay dispute with Räikkönen in 2013 and the fact that, behind the scenes, there were mass defections from the team as people believed it was going bankrupt and were abandoning them for other teams (circa 100-150 people are thought to have left the team around that time).

          Sauber, similarly, were in deep financial trouble at that time – there were reports of unpaid salaries for staff and for the drivers in 2012 and 2013, with Hulkenberg stating he wasn’t paid for his stint with the team in 2013. At one point in 2012, the team are believed to have defaulted on payments to Ferrari and nearly had their engine supply withdrawn – they had to give Ferrari free wind tunnel testing time to compensate them.

          Equally, pretty much every year in F1 back then saw rumours that Force India were on the verge of crashing out or facing winding up applications, with constant questions about their financial stability.

          We saw Marussia only survive because their owner was prepared to write off over $200 million in debt that they accrued during that era, HRT collapsed and Caterham, whilst collapsing in 2014, cited the debts they had racked up during the latter end of the V8 era as the reason why they eventually collapsed.

          I know that you like to blame everything on the current power unit formula – honestly, at this rate it feels like you’ll blame them for anything, like a bit of bad weather – but that is papering over the financial issues that were endemic before in the sport. It is the classic thing of trying to claim that you have a magic silver bullet solution and that changing the sport in the way you insist they should will magically make everything wonderful – only a charlatan or a fool would pretend that is the case.

          1. Hrt, marussia, caterham haha. The andrea modas of early 2010s. Not even worth mentioning in this context imho. Back of the grid those kind of teams have always struggled. But even then all those teams survived. Now under these regulations they are all gone. Let’s not forget the cost increase of the kers either during that time. Wonder what costs have increased and what have decreased? Engines have not become any cheaper for sure. Not just the cost of the engine contract has gone up but you need more people at the race track and at the factory to work with these extremely complex engines. Back in the v8 era factory teams were maybe spending 100mil per year on engines.

            Your response is pretty typical what you always write. Cherrypicking some nuggets here and there. My main points were about the weaknesses and issues which these current engines have a lot yet your response is mainly a whataboutism about sauber, lotus and the various backmarker teams. All of which failed under current engine regs. Maybe in your head your random sauber and lotus comments refute my points about the increase in engine weight and massive increase in aero and how those are detrimental to f1 racing. But I’d guess there is not even room for discussion if you are just throwing around totally random things to “disprove me”. Ending with ad hominem probably made you feel really smart. Only a charlatan or fool would disagree with lord anon?

            1. @socksolid, it is because you yourself have taken the attitude that you have a free reign to abuse, belittle and aggressively attack anybody who disagrees with you – if you don’t like to be treated in that way, then cut that behaviour out yourself, otherwise expect to be treated with the same contempt.

              As for yourself, you have also demonstrated a considerable tendency to either cherry pick or to completely fake supposed “evidence”, such as your tendency to artificially inflate the weight of the current power units by adding another 20kg or more on every time that somebody questioned your values.

              Since you seem to believe that your figures are so much more reliable, why don’t you start trying to prove your claims? What is the source of your assertion that “Back in the v8 era factory teams were maybe spending 100mil per year on engines”?

              Since you assert “Not just the cost of the engine contract has gone up but you need more people at the race track and at the factory to work with these extremely complex engines.”, why don’t you prove it by telling us how many people were required then and how many are required now, since you seem to believe you have a clear insight into the exact number of engine personnel who were present at every team in that era and today.

              Come on – no more “whataboutism” from you: start providing the sources and numbers that you claim to have to back up those assertions.

        2. @socksolid The increase in overall weight over the years isn’t solely down to the engines/PUs, though. Other car parts/areas, as well as tyres, have also contributed to that.

          1. The v8s were light enough so they could carry a lot of ballast and still make the minimum weight. With the hybrids the engine package weight alone rose by 80kg+. Back then teams could easily make minimum weight with ballast but were now struggling to to get even to the minimum weight.

      2. Maybe we should focus on the other thing that he says comes close.

        1. @m-bagattini Which is probably the wedding, LOL.

    2. If only Magnussen were half as fast at the wheel as he is at the mouth

      1. @maciek

        To be fair, he can trash talk and drive like trash as well.

        1. Clown Todfod clap clap clap, not funny.

      2. @maciek on the other hand, he’s one that puts some effort in making this sport a good show and that’s fine for me. The field, especially the midfield, needs more drivers like Kevin: elbows out, good battles, borderline to written and unwritten rules.

      3. Indeed, Haas needs a clear out from their two Jokers…

    3. @hazelsouthwell Thank you for the Cotd shout out.

      As to KM’s remarks…a bit strange. Sure the cars may be a blast to drive, but he would seem to agree they need less dependence on downforce to race closely. And they have to have new tires on when it is a blast. Low fuel helps too. Surely he can’t be happy with the tires when not new, nor with their finicky window, nor with how badly they do when following another car, nor with how the cars do in dirty air. Seems to me like KM likes the cars on Saturday, but I don’t see how he can like them on Sunday. I wouldn’t be so quick to slag drivers for wanting less downforce. They might actually be brave guys who want closer combat, more often, without drs. And less downforce doesn’t have to mean slower cars, since less downforce equals less drag on straights, and good tires can pick up the slack in corners. Less clean air dependence will keep the cars closer, not more hp and the ability to follow a ‘bit’ more closely.

      1. @robbie I’d like to add a parameter that in my opinion is preventing overtakes and battles, that I feel is often underestimated. These cars are huge. Tracks don’t scale with cars’ size.

        1. @m-bagattini Perhaps that plays a tiny role, pardon the pun, but it doesn’t get too much mention, and weren’t cars this wide before? When there weren’t Tilke tracks? Perhaps they’re longer than ever, but their size doesn’t seem to be too much of a bother. Of course the real and main issue is too much clean air dependence.

        2. @m-bagattini @robbie The cars are the same width now that they were before 1998 when they were narrowed from 2m to 1.8m which was something that was done in order to slow them down along with the introduction of grooved tyres. Tracks back then were also on average narrower than they are today.

          Something I remember from back then was that some said that making the cars narrower actually would put a larger emphasis on aero because the narrower cars were a lot less stable in part due to having to narrow the floor/diffuser to move the rear tyres inwards.

          One of the reasons they took the cars back to 2m in 2017 was to allow for a larger floor/diffuser in order to pull more performance from that area which is actually something that will be useful if they start looking more towards ground effects in the future.

          1. @gt-racer For sure and of course the wider cars now accommodate the wider tires as they also used to be.

            This reminds me of a quote from Jacques Villeneuve back in 97 when they were about to change to the narrower cars and the grooved tires and he called them a joke, got hauled onto the FIA carpet for it, and said, paraphrasing ‘Give us back the big fat slicks of the 70’s. They create so much drag that we’d be forced to run less wing, thus killing two birds with one stone. Less aero dependence due to the smaller wings, and more mechanical grip due to the big tires, equals closer racing.’

            Seems to me by the time they finally reverted to the ‘big fat slicks’ in recent years, more powerful pu’s with lots of torque must have negated the need for smaller wings and hence the continuation of too much clean air dependence that JV was decrying over 20 years ago.

      2. @robbie Not automatically, though. Less downforce doesn’t automatically equal less drag on straights. They don’t automatically go hand-in-hand. The cornering speed/straight-line speed ratio isn’t automatically reliant on the amount of downforce itself

        1. @jerejj No for sure you are right and I realize I was speaking in generalities. It is complex.

          1. @robbie Yes, the matter indeed is complex as are the technical matters of F1 in general.

    4. OK I’ve been outed, I admit I want less down force and I can’t drive a F1 car.

    5. Those drivers that want to have less downforce, it’s because they can’t drive these fast cars. They want to go back to what they were good at but that’s their own thing – nobody wants slower cars.

      It’s a bit rich coming from a driver who seems pretty poor in a fast, slow or medium paced car.

      Anyways, I’m guessing a low downforce car would be harder to control and more on edge. Driver skill would be more important in this scenario as compared to cars with really high downforce levels that can go fast around a corner regardless.

      I guess K-Mag wants a car formula that suits him as well…. maybe one where the car is fast even though K-mag isn’t particularly fast on merit.

      1. @todfod

        I’m guessing a low downforce car would be harder to control and more on edge.

        Not necessarily because less downforce doesn’t automatically make them harder to drive or more on edge because the cars would be designed & optimized around that.

        I mean the cars in 2014 had a lot less downforce but they were also a lot slower & drivers complained they were too easy to drive & too slow which was one of the key reasons they wanted to make them a lot faster for 2017.

    6. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
      19th June 2019, 6:14

      As for BMW, they didn’t put in the money, cause they already decided they were going to pull out of wec.

    7. With regards to tyre selection for Austrian GP, are Ferrari’s expecting the Red walled soft tyres to be nearly useless for the GP and going in favour of mediums instead?

    8. Word of the day: 🍩

    9. Magnussen is a man’s man. Give him 2k bhp in current car and real tires.

      What was it that Haas team principal said? Get rid of kinder surprise tires.

      That is what I say aswell. Grosejan told us few days ago, his carting race with friends was more demanding. Where is flat out racing?

      We saw in Canada, Vettel and Lewis nursing the cars home. Pace totally dropped off due to the following reasons.

      Cars having cooling setup to drive slowly. Vettel’s car fueled for processional race. Hamiltons tires going off soon after doing some actual racing. And then stewards stopping the fun right when it got interesting and lead driver started making mistakes.

      After Canada I am 100% convinced F1 could have more power, better tires and the racing would improve. They do 1 stop anyway, why bother making tires that try to fall apart in set number of laps? Drivers just drive 6 seconds off Quali pace to preserve kinder surprise tires. They hate it, we hate it, but it is the fastest way, so they do have to do what they and we hate.

      Take action now please.

      1. @jureo They are taking action as fast as possible for when they contractually can, and for when the teams have time to adjust, particularly the lesser teams. They know what they have to do, and that has been spelled out in the proposals, and great improvements are on the way.

      2. @jureo The significance of the difference in lap time between qualifying and race is primarily down to fuel levels, though, and has been like that ever since in-race refuelling got banned for 2010.

    10. Ah Magnussen…he always tells it like it is…in is head.

      1. his head.please add an edit button.*cries*

    11. Spot on, I couldn’t agree more with him. The ideal overall scenario would be this: Stable lap times similar to what they’ve been since 2017 combined with less clean air-dependent car designs, as well as, lighter cars. The overall weight doesn’t have to be as low as it used to be, but at least some of it should be shaved off. Either by reducing the number of PU elements and or making the batteries lighter or via something else.

    12. So Senna, Prost, Fangio, Mansell, etc were not very good drivers because their cars had less downforce. Ok Magnussen, got it.

      1. Yes, you are correct. Senna Tried these new cars and then choose to go back.
        Because that’s how time works.

    13. K-Mag should be in IndyCar. If only the salary was the same.

    14. Pretty sure 99% of F1 fans wouldn’t care if these curebt cars were lapping in Indycar or early 90s F1 times.

    15. Principles F1 should follow: 1. safety 2. close racing 3. world’s fastest cars 4. efficiency 5. optimizing 1-4 points. The most fans want to see close racing among the best drivers in the fastest cars. How can we solve it? This is, decision makers and engineers should work for. I think it is possible with compromises.
      Some possibilities we have to consider:
      1. Less differences between cars in lap times.
      Some teams are better in PU and others in aero but we need less differences in lap times. Slight changes in technical regulation year by year (with stable regulations, differences will naturally decrease). Smaller teams get the same PU (hardware, software, etc) as manufacturers. Decrease money/revenue allocation differences and decrease costs. The slower teams get more test days. I think it would be ideal if cars are close to each other in lap times but some cars are faster in straight and others are faster in corners.
      +I think we should introduce Plus Weight Per Point system in short term (for example +20dkg/point, less or more. It means if a driver has got 10 points he has to carry +2kg as a minimum weight for the car) because it is a simple, cheap, fast, effective solution to decrease dominance and differences and we don’t need unification or freeze development.
      2. Less dirty air and less sensitive cars for dirty air in corners but fast cars: more mechanical grip, less or same aero downforce, the sport needs make it easier for cars to follow each other closely during races
      A, simpler front wing and aero B, (more effective diffuser) C, better tyres (more durable, more grip) D, more powerful and effective PUs (natural development) E, DRS? (open DRS time/race and drivers manage it) F, refuelling? (Cars can be faster and drivers could push harder during races but there would be less safety and maybe more ’overtaking during the pit stops’) G, narrower cars H, less weight I, use active (aero) elements (no DRS) to decrease the following car disadvantage in the corners
      3. Increasing the role of drivers: A, drivers make decisions on strategy and car settings B, less radio instructions from engineers to drivers during races (maybe only safety reasons) C, minimum weight for drivers (for example 80kg with ballast less or more) but no limit for cars D, push on the limit as long as possible, and save (fuel, tyres, PU etc.) as short as possible -> faster lap times during races E, It should be more challenging to drive physically and mentally F, drivers manage ERS instead of a program (like they used KERS earlier) G, so more challenge mentally (drivers own strategy) and physically (more G force until it is safety) as well for drivers.
      4. Better tracks: It would be a good think if F1 valuated the tracks.
      Some important things for a good race tracks are:
      4.1. Safety
      4.2. Track lines (many possible places to overtake, slow and fast corners)
      4.3. Wide (much wider than the race cars) and long
      4.4. Smoothness and roughness of the track
      4.5. Space crash (wall, gravel, speed bump, grass, asphalt)
      4.6. Earlier racing experiences
      4.7. Opinions of drivers (about race tracks)
      (4.8. Maybe attractions around the tracks)

    16. Put him in a much much more slower F.E with also less grip and he smashes the car in the first 5 laps

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