Kevin Magnussen is taking a circumspect approach to Haas’ new upgrades for Hungary – wary they may not yield a sudden improvement.
Apart from the odd minor tweak here and there Haas have not introduced any big updates to the VF-22 so far this season, saving them up for one big hit at the Hungarian Grand Prix to carry them through to the end of the campaign.
In fairness, it is not as though the team have been crying out for improved parts because they enjoyed a fruitful spell in Britain and Austria recently with double points finishes and sit seventh in the Constructors’ Championship – a far cry from 2021 when they failed to open their account at all.
With the upgrades, it has been suggested Haas could leap right to the top of the midfield – a position from which they are not far away in any case on raw pace, with Magnussen and Mick Schumacher qualifying seventh and eighth respectively in Austria.
But the Dane is not allowing himself to get carried away just yet, especially as he remembers what happened in 2019 when Haas introduced upgrades that did not work out at all, eventually reverting back to their original spec.
K-Mag knows Quali could be key with the Hungaroring's tight and twisty nature. Luckily he's one of the best one-lap specialists in F1!
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) July 27, 2022
“We’ve seen this year we’ve been finding performance more than we thought we would with this [car], but we basically haven’t really upgraded since winter testing,” Magnussen told reporters.
“It’s been a little bit surprising to see how much more performance we’ve been extracting.
“So when you put on a new package, it’s a little bit…I’m a little anxious to see if it will just be improvement on top of what we have now, or if it’s a step back and you work towards something with more potential.
“I don’t know. It will be interesting to see. We would all love to just put new parts on the car and go tenths faster, but I don’t think that’s how it works.
“You do unlock more potential and the more you learn, the faster the thing goes.”
Haas have already stated Magnussen will receive the upgrades before Schumacher, who must wait until after the summer break due to the crashes in which he was involved earlier in the season.
Those accidents imposed a strain on resources and time in terms of obtaining new parts, but a phlegmatic Schumacher said: “That’s okay for me. Budapest is a track that should actually suit us. So even without a new package, it can be good there.”