Injured strategist swapped K-Mag from wets to inters

Date published: July 20 2020

Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez

Kevin Magnussen has an injured Haas strategist to thank for his Hungarian GP point with Guenther Steiner revealing Mike Caulfield made the call.

Magnussen surprised many pundits when he lined up for the formation lap on full wet Pirellis, the only driver to do so on a damp track.

However, as the formation lap got underway it was evident that the track was drying fast.

Haas decided to pit both Magnussen and Romain Grosjean on the formation lap, swapping them to slicks.

That move made all the difference, at least for Magnussen, as he ran P3 in the early laps.

Although he fell down the order as the race progressed, he crossed the line in ninth place to scored his and Haas’ first points of the season.

That became P10 when he was hit with a 10-second penalty for receiving help from the team on the formation lap, that help being the instruction to come in and change tyres.

It still meant a point for the driver and his team.

“In the beginning, it was like if you start where we were lined up and you don’t do anything different, it’s difficult to make any gains,” team boss Guenther Steiner told Autosport.

“So Kevin wanted to try some wet tyres, and then immediately saw on the formation lap, that it was drying up.

“And then there was very little chatter between our strategists, one of whom is sitting in England this week, because he broke his arm last week.

“So one of the two – one is here, obviously – said at some stage “Hey, let’s go to dry, its drying up. That’s a chance”, and then it was very, very quick decision to do this.

“They discussed between people and we just did it, you know. There was no big discussion or anything. It’s just that would be a good idea to let’s try it, you know. We have nothing to lose.”

Asked what happened with Caulfield, the Austrian revealed: “He’s normally at the race but he fell off his bike in Austria and had to go back for an operation.”

Steiner says Haas’ first point of the season was an “important” one for everyone working at the team.

“It’s important for all the people,” he said. “We were in furlough for three, four months before going to Austria and in Austria results weren’t fantastic to say the least.

“The guys have been on the road now for third week, so going away from here with points is something which is like a morale booster.

“Points speak for themselves for a race team. So I think everybody did a good job. Nobody gave up and we got some points. You know, that’s the most important thing.”

As for Magnussen, he praised Haas for making the call on the formation lap.

“It was an amazing call by the team,” he told Sky F1. “I’d like to thank them for giving me the trust to put me on slick tyres. It was really risky but it worked out.

“I tried to hang on as much as I could and I opened a gap to the Ferrari – who would have thought that?”

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