K-Mag hints engine is holding back Haas

Jon Wilde
Kevin Magnussen Haas

Kevin Magnussen believes he is capable of “taking the next step” in Formula 1 – despite being dumped by the Haas team.

Kevin Magnussen has indicated that Haas’ lack of pace so far this season is down to their Ferrari engine rather than anything the team have done with the car.

Haas and Williams are the two teams yet to collect any points in 2020, with both Magnussen and Romain Grosjean having to retire from the opening Austrian Grand Prix with brake problems.

Then in the Styrian Grand Prix, also at the Red Bull Ring, Magnussen and Grosjean finished P12 and P13 respectively, both a lap down on winner Lewis Hamilton.

The performance of the Haas cars was around six tenths of a second slower than in Austria last year, when the constructor finished ninth of 10 in the World Championship standings.

Quoted by RaceFans.net in response to a question about the team’s pace, Magnussen said: “I don’t think anything the team has done has made the car worse at all. There’s different reasons for that.

“I think if you look at all the Ferrari-powered cars there’s some similarities. I think that’s probably something that’s holding us back a bit.”

Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, the other teams who use a power unit supplied by the Italian giants, are, as Magnussen suggested, also slower than last year. But the Dane denied knowledge of any political wrangle after Ferrari were investigated by the FIA over their 2019 engine.

“All I see is that we are slower on the straights this year compared to last year, having to drop more downforce than last year,” added Magnussen. “That’s all I know.

“I can’t even say for sure that it’s the engine. I can just conclude that we are slow on the straights and having to drop more downforce than last year.”

In a Q&A on the Haas official website, Magnussen revealed he was happier with how his car had performed in the two races so far this term compared to qualifying – he started 16th and 15th on the grid respectively.

“I think the race performance, from the Austrian to the Styrian Grand Prix, was more or less the same,” said the 27-year-old. “The car was actually pretty strong in race condition at the Austrian Grand Prix.

“I think generally the car is very good in race conditions, especially compared to qualifying trim. Qualifying is really where we need to focus because the race performance is decent.”

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