Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Imola, 2020

Magnussen’s headache-inducing gearbox fault started in qualifying

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Haas chose not to fix a gearbox fault on Kevin Magnussen’s car after qualifying because they would have incurred a penalty.

Magnussen retired from yesterday’s race as the fault caused irregular upshifts which left him with a severe headache.

The problem was diagnosed after qualifying, where Magnussen claimed 17th on the grid. But fixing it would have incurred a gearbox change penalty, dropping Magnussen to the rear of the field.

“A somewhat frustrating Sunday afternoon, but nothing goes our way it looks like at the moment,” said team principal Guenther Steiner after yesterday’s race. “Not just the moment, it’s been a while actually.”

Magnussen was knocked into a spin by Sebastian Vettel on the first lap of the race. “Kevin getting together with Sebastian at turn seven, well, that put him in a place where there’s not a lot to do,” said Steiner.

“But he caught up pretty well in the end. He then had the gearbox issue which we had since after qualifying, but we were not allowed by the FIA to change the sensors without penalty – so that went against us.”

Magnussen said the problem first developed “on my fastest lap in qualifying” and cost him around half a second per lap.

“The problem came back in the race, it was there from the first lap. I was having slow up-shifts, and not only are they slow, it’s also like a big bang every time you up-shift. It seems okay for a couple of laps but then it starts shaking your head crazily. By the end I just had a massive headache – I told the team.

“I think they felt there was nothing to fight for, so they [pitted] me. I was spun around at the start and that was really the end of it. I lost so much time getting back on track.

“The pace was really good actually, it was better than we had expected – even with the up-shifts that were costing us around half a second a lap.”

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2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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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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9 comments on “Magnussen’s headache-inducing gearbox fault started in qualifying”

  1. Well, he already was towards the rear of the field, so would’ve only lost three positions on the grid had they changed the gearbox, so maybe taking the hit would’ve been worth it after all.

    1. Exactly. Especially if they really were losing “half a second a lap”!
      I can’t believe that they were losing that much time because there’s no way you’d carry that in to the race just to save 3 grid slots.

      1. Yeah, I find it a bit baffling that a mere 3 spots on the grid meant the team decided against exchanging this part. Surely had the car been more driveable, Kevin might have still come close to the points (it would probably have meant not being there at the time he actually spun, but that is hindsight off course) @swordsman_uk, @jerejj

        1. Given Romain’s comments, maybe they didn’t have the part available @bascb ?

          1. That was what occurred to be too @paeschli. Reminds me of the inglorious days of HRT …

  2. They briefly showed a shot of him in the cockpit shifting up, and it looked really bad. Every upshift his head snapped forward as it came out of gear, then immediately backward as it caught the next one after a few tens of milliseconds. But those tens of milliseconds represented a reversal from ~0.6 rearward Gs to 1+ forward Gs, and then back again, all in a few blinks. Brutal. Repeat dozens of times per lap, for dozens of laps. Those upshifts are normally nearly seamless.

    Bravo to KMag for hanging in as long as he did.

  3. And if the gearbox failed from abusing itself like this for 90 minutes then they would have had a penalty anyway. What were they thinking? Seems they just couldn’t be bothered to do the work to change it over night.

  4. Did any of you watch VET’s onboards when he an KMAG collided?

    Seems strange to me how he avoided a penalty – it looks like he actively turns into KMAG despite having pleanty of room on the inside???

  5. Yeah, VET is just a sore looser these days, so he could’t handle being overtaken byt MAG, and decided to give him a little but expensice nudge.
    Had it been the other way around, MAG would have been given 5 or 10 sec penalty. F1 is just not what it used to be…

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