Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Circuit of the Americas, 2023

Q3 was “easily” possible but race is key test of Haas upgrade – Magnussen

Formula 1

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Kevin Magnussen says he could have easily made it into the final round of qualifying for the United States Grand Prix after missing the cut by two tenths of a second yesterday.

However the Haas driver said it’s too soon to tell whether the major upgrade package the team has brought this weekend has worked as they need to see better performance over a race distance.

Magnussen said his unfamiliarity with the heavily upgraded VF-23 was partly why he’d missed a place in the top 10 in qualifying.

“There’s been some positive signs today in free practice and also Q1,” he said. “P5 in free practice, P7 in Q1. Then I didn’t do a good job in Q2, unfortunately.

“I’m still kind of learning this car. We’re getting to know it and I made just two bad laps in Q2 and still was around two-tenths from Q3. So I think there were some positive signs.”

Haas have been plagued by poor tyre management in races so far this year, which Magnussen hopes the new package will address.

“The real question is on Sunday whether the car is better on the tyres, if the performance is better there,” he said. “That’s what we’re really looking for. Not really whether we’re a little bit better on one lap or not, that’s not the question.”

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Magnussen is confident he could have reached the Q3 with a tidier lap. “I could easily, in the data, pick up two or three tenths in my lap.

“In Q2 I nearly lost the car completely in sector one. I’m surprised I didn’t crash with the moment I had. So there was clearly a lot more time in Q2, which I didn’t extract.”

“But we’ve been in Q3 before this year with a car that didn’t perform on Sunday,” he added. “So the real question, the real test, is on Sunday. We know the old car could do one lap, but that’s not the question.

“I was P6 two or three races ago in qualifying in Singapore. So we know it can do it in one lap, that’s not the question, the question is Sunday.”

The differences between the Circuit of the Americas and the Losail circuit F1 raced at two weeks ago will make it tricky to assess what progress the team has made, he added.

“I don’t want to really conclude anything yet because it’s a different track, it’s a different Tarmac, different wind conditions, different [tyre] compounds to last time,” he said. “It’s very hard to compare in such detail to different laps. But I feel some things, it will take more time to verify it.”

“[With] more laps, we’ll get a bit better conclusion. But I think this weekend we’re not really going to be able to conclude much.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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