Kevin Magnussen warns Aston Martin have taken ‘a big step’ over winter

Sam Cooper
Felipe Drugovich driving the Aston Martin AMR23. Bahrain, February 2023.

Aston Martin reserve driver Felipe Drugovich at the wheel of the AMR23 in testing. Bahrain, February 2023.

Kevin Magnussen has picked out Aston Martin as the team which has most impressed him during the early running in pre-season testing.

While it has by no means been plain sailing with a full-time driver missing from action and two issues during Thursday’s running, the performance of the AMR23 has been noteworthy, especially in comparison to where the team were a year ago.

Fernando Alonso earned P2 for the first day with only Max Verstappen able to put in a quicker time and their performance continued to be strong going into Friday’s action.

Aston Martin have lofty goals for not just this season but also the longer term and are aiming to move up past their P7 finish of 2022.

The car, which is the first to be fully designed under the watch of former Red Bull head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows, has caught the eye of the other teams including Haas and Magnussen.

When asked to single out a team that has impressed over the course of pre-season testing so far, it was the Silverstone outfit that Magnussen mentioned.

“I think Aston Martin looks fast,” Magnussen told media including PlanetF1.com. “They seem to constantly be doing good long runs and when they try to put in a fast time, they seem to do it as well. So I think that they look like they’ve done a big step.”

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The 30-year-old Dane also admitted that he was not paying too much attention to lap times as he confirmed Haas were holding some things back, a tactic he was sure the others were employing as well.

“I’m pretty happy,” he said of his time in the car. “It’s always very difficult to see how much progress you’ve made.

“We don’t know if it’s the lap times that we’re seeing, that’s as fast as they can go. We know we can go faster. So you’re always trying to not look at the lap times too much.

“Just focus on your programme and get those items done that you planned to really just build your knowledge about the car.

“Testing, sometimes as a driver, is frustrating because you’re putting things on the car that you know is not going to be the right direction for the balance of the day. But you need to try to know what it is to learn and see how the car reacts to areas we wanted to address this year.”

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher