Kevin Magnussen has given more detail about the neck problems he encountered at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
After 15 months out of Formula 1, the Dane found his sudden return to the series with the Haas team, racing on back-to-back weekends and testing immediately beforehand, taking a physical toll.
— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) April 3, 2022
Magnussen’s lack of conditioning was only to be expected considering he was called in at short notice to replace ousted Nikita Mazepin, having switched to endurance racing in 2021.
The 29-year-old admitted his neck muscles had suffered greatly during qualifying at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, affecting his performance – and clearly that has been an area to place much focus on in the build-up to the Australian Grand Prix.
“It was very tough – there was a nerve that got stuck and spasmed,” Magnussen told the In the Fast Lane podcast about his problems in Saudi Arabia.
“My neck was stiff because of that and I couldn’t move it without pain. It’s not great when that happens because your head needs to be balanced to feel what the car is doing. You lose that feeling when you have to let it go and rest your head against the side.
“Qualifying wasn’t great – I couldn’t actually control the car in Q3. The team told me a fast lap, slow lap and another fast lap was the best way for qualifying runs, but I said ‘let’s do one fast lap because I can’t do more’.
“It wasn’t great, but I expected it. If you don’t drive Formula 1 cars for a whole year, your neck loses strength and the only way that comes back is by driving F1 cars.”
Magnussen has previously said he has “one of the best physios in the world” helping him in Thomas Jorgensen, so he hopes things will be better in Melbourne as he tries to make it a hat-trick of points finishes since his return to the sport.
“The priority has been to train like crazy,” he added. “Before this return, I didn’t train like an F1 driver should train.
“I did train and I was active, but I did a lot of other things I wouldn’t normally do if I knew I was on the eve of a new F1 season.
“I was involved in some things, but had to cancel all that to go and do some training and also do some training for the neck.”
Haas' unusual solution to help K-Mag's neck
Haas resorted to using cups to help Kevin Magnussen with the neck problems he was experiencing at the Saudi Arabian GP.