Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Miami International Autodrome, 2023

Magnussen explains change which reversed his fortunes in qualifying

2023 F1 season

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Kevin Magnussen explained how he turned around his fortunes in qualifying this season after initially struggling with his Haas.

He claimed fourth on the grid at the Miami Grand Prix, which is the highest starting position Haas has ever achieved for a grand prix. Although his efforts were flattered by a timely red flag in qualifying, it was this first time this season Magnussen had out-qualified team mate Nico Hulkenberg, who is back in F1 after three years out of a full-time seat.

It followed a positive weekend in Baku for Magnussen where he made it through to SQ2 in sprint qualifying, despite going out in Q1 the day before due to a technical problem.

Before Baku he often struggled on Saturdays. He was eliminated in Q1 at the Bahrain Grand Prix, and almost a second slower than Hulkenberg in Melbourne.

“We’ve been experimenting a lot with the mechanical set-up,” Magnussen told media including RaceFans ahead of last weekend’s race.

“There’s a few new things mechanically on the car this year that we’ve been exploring a lot. That comes with a cost when you do that.

“If it doesn’t work you have to spend a lot of time figuring that out. Then eventually for qualifying, that’s when parc ferme starts so you have to decide. Often we’ve gone back to a more traditional set-up, and then you’ve spent all of your practice with a different car.

“When you go back to a completely different set-up for qualifying then you go into qualifying not fully knowing that car. Then it can cost one or two tenths and can cost a mistake, and I think that’s what we’ve been doing a few times this year.”

Magnussen said the reduced practice time available to the team at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix sprint race weekend led them to stick with a known set-up, which paid off.

“For Baku, also given there was only one practice, we went in with this set-up that we know,” he added. “This area of the set-up that we know very well and that was way easier.

“Then I have technical [problems] here with the car both in FP1 and in qualifying, but at least we put a car on-track that I knew was going to be good and we’ll be on that approach a little more this year.”

2023 F1 season

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Ed Hardy
In 2019, Ed started working on Formula 1 writing articles during race weekends. Alongside that, he also built up experience in football working on...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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4 comments on “Magnussen explains change which reversed his fortunes in qualifying”

  1. Coventry Climax
    11th May 2023, 11:56

    This bares a fundamental flaw in contemporary F1 regulations.
    What he says boils down to having no real means to actually test what they’ve come up with, no options to move forward.
    Now, even should this be a poor team’s issue only, it is counterproductive to the goal of increased competitiveness across the field.
    Pinnacle of motorsports my a.s.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. The whole point of the 3 practice sessions is to dial the car in on that track for “real” and not in some computer simulation that at best can probably only guess an 80% optimised car.

      What we’re seeing now is most of the cars being not quite optimised which is forcing drivers to nurse tyres or back off from driving at 100% because the cars balance just doesn’t allow it.

      1. Nope. They back off because their computers say it’s faster to drive a bit slower to do one less pit stop.

        And if the sims can only get them to 80% (they’re actually better than that) then it’s about the same for everyone, right?
        Who is being advantaged or disadvantaged by it?
        That’s the sporting element, isn’t it. Who does the best on the day with what they have. Nobody gets an extra practice session….

    2. This bares a fundamental flaw in contemporary F1 regulations.

      No it doesn’t.
      Every team is going through the same process. How far they stray from their known setup data is the gamble they are taking each and every time. And when they do, they learn – positive or negative, the knowledge is equally valuable.

      How about asking the teams if they’d like more real-world practice and testing – but at the expense of computers and simulators?
      When you consider the design and development tools teams have at their disposal now, even unlimited real-world testing from decades ago was incredibly inefficient. They can learn in 10 minutes now what it took 6 months to discover back in the 80’s.
      And you think they need more??
      What, exactly, do you think that would achieve? They’ve engineered unpredictability and human input out of F1 enough as it is, thanks.

      This is perhaps the biggest fallacy people believe in regard to F1, equal only to “Changing the technical regs will just cost teams more money.”
      The more testing they have, the more they’ll say they need in order to catch up with the other teams who did a better job. There is no end point – there will never be enough.

      Pinnacle of motorsports my a.s.

      F1 doesn’t claim to be….

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