Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Baku City Circuit, 2023

Magnussen ‘lacking confidence’ in VF-23 compared to last year’s car

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Haas driver Kevin Magnussen admits he has been ‘lacking a little bit of confidence’ over the start of his 2023 season so far.

In brief

Magnussen admits to ‘lacking confidence’

Magnussen has been out-qualified by new team mate Nico Hulkenberg in all three rounds of the 2023 season so far, failing to reach Q3 once while Hulkenberg has only missed out in the final qualifying phase in Jeddah.

Despite taking points in the race in Saudi Arabia, Magnussen sits behind Hulkenberg in the drivers’ championship. Asked if he was less confident in the team’s VF-23 than he was in last year’s car, Magnussen said “yeah, I think so.”

“I think we’ve found it for qualifying and the race, or all of the three weekends we’ve had so far, but we haven’t started off in the right place with the set-up,” he explained. “Then you lack a little bit of confidence, because if you start in FP1 pretty close to what you’re going to run in qualifying, you get a lot of laps with that car and that balance and you can optimise your driving style around that. And it’s never optimum going into qualifying with a different set up, a new set-up you haven’t tried.

“So I think that’s the target for us – to hit the ground running a little closer to what we are going to run in qualifying and the race and hopefully that’s going to be a step forward for us.”

Hamilton’s thrill watching brother Nic race at Donington

Lewis Hamilton described his experience as a fan watching his brother Nic Hamilton race to his career-best finish in the British Touring Car Championship last weekend at Donington Park.

Nicolas Hamilton scored a career-best sixth last weekend
The seven-times world champion travelled to the midlands circuit to spectate the opening round of the series where his brother was competing. Nic Hamilton, who lives with cerebral palsy, secured his best ever finish in the championship in sixth place in race two.

“My brother, who I’m incredibly proud of, continues to be such a great voice,” Hamilton said in yesterday’s FIA press conference. “Every year he raises his own money because, obviously, racing in a series and in a sport where there is no access for people who particularly are disabled. And he stands for so much.

“He’s been fighting to try and make up for the disability he has with his legs, and it’s a continuous fight. But he got sixth in the race. And I was just standing in the crowd just watching this as a fan. I was so excited – and no one knew that I was there. I was just jumping up and down and trying to support him.”

Ferrari quickest in WEC Spa practice

Antonio Giovinazzi’s best time of 2’01.871 put his number 51 Ferrari hypercar on top of the times in the second practice session for this weekend’s Six Hours of Spa, ahead of the sister Ferrari.

The two Ferrari 499Ps set the pace ahead of Cadillac and the number eight Toyota as the opening day of practice for the third World Endurance Championship round took place at Spa-Francorchamps. Qualifying will take place today with the race on Saturday.

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Comment of the day

With some drivers likening the new sprint race rules akin to a “test session” outside of the top eight positions, @fer-no65 feels vindicated…

I said so as soon as the new format was announced.

Having the Sunday grid decided on Friday leaves room for someone qualifying well on Friday, having a terrible Saturday sprint qualy and having absolutely no incentive to risk anything on Saturday afternoon.

It can and will happen. Not sure if they are forced to start or anything… but given the sprint race is so short, the risk is so high and the reward so little, if a Hamilton, Verstappen or whoever with proper chances on Sunday find themselves in the back rows on Saturday, why even bother starting the race in the first place?
@Fer no.65

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Russell G., Varun, Krtekf1, Muz and Tez!

On this day in motorsport

  • Five years ago today Sebastian Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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7 comments on “Magnussen ‘lacking confidence’ in VF-23 compared to last year’s car”

  1. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen admits he has been ‘lacking a little bit of confidence’ over the start of his 2023 season so far.

    Seems he’s ready to step up to McLaren then.

  2. Is the Predictions Championship dead? It’s usually updated by now, isn’t it?

  3. Re: COTD, can you just not start a race? I mean obviously you can, just say something is broken or kick something until it is. But can a team just say “nah”?

    If it started happening regularly, teams opting out. What would happen? Presumably the sporting regs say you have to turn up and you have to compete.

    It’d be a weird one. We could have a sprint to the fastest excuse not to race – race.

    1. @bernasaurus I think the Concorde Agreement requires teams to participate in every race weekend, but there’s nothing that says they must take part in every session at each meeting.

      I remember once during the early 2010s, Red Bull decided to keep Sebastian Vettel in the garage for all the practice and qualifying sessions, because he was going to start at the back anyway due to an engine penalty. So they judged that there was no reason for him to participate and risk wearing his parts out further.

      I could conceivably see one or more teams doing the same for the sprint sessions, but probably not at the first time of asking.

    2. @bernasaurus well there’s the rule about only missing a maximum of 3 events (the one that requires the outgoing Caterham team to race in Abu Dhabi to have any chance at securing prize money), but I guess the Sprint isn’t an event, only a session.
      I wonder if there is any possible penalty that could be applied to the race for not trying in the Sprint, akin to bringing the sport into disrepute?

  4. Yes, he’s indeed been lacking confidence, but I’m sure he’ll improve & eventually stay put for next season.

    COTD makes a good point, although not bothering to participate in the sprint would be extreme.

  5. Poor Kevin. Getting destroyed by a driver three years out of the sport.

    I hope he’ll get as much support from Saint Günther of South Tyrol as his predecessor did.

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