Kevin Magnussen explained the literal “massive headache”, caused by a malfunctioning gearbox, that ended his Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The Haas driver informed the team over the radio about his physical discomfort and despite insisting he would carry on as “it’s my job” when given the option to retire, he was nevertheless called into the pits and the car pushed into the garage.
There was no real prospect of Magnussen scoring points at the time, especially after a first-lap spin following contact with Sebastian Vettel, but he was still encouraged by the pace of his car.
However, it was the gearbox problem that was the biggest issue and left the Dane nursing a sore head at the end of his Imola weekend.
“We had a problem with the gearbox, yesterday as well on our fastest lap in qualifying, and it came back in the race,” revealed Magnussen, who will be released by Haas when his contract expires at the conclusion of the season.
“It was there from the first lap – from the start I was having slow upshifts. Not only are they slow, it’s also like a big bang every time you upshift.
“It seems okay for a couple of laps but then it starts shaking your head crazily and by the end of it I just got a massive headache. I told the team and I think they were like ‘anyway, we have nothing to fight for’ so they boxed me.”
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) November 1, 2020
Regarding the opening-lap collision with Vettel – for which the stewards apportioned no blame – Magnussen admitted it had nearly been the end of his race before it had even properly begun in earnest.
“I got spun around at the start, which was the end of it almost – I lost so much time getting back on track,” said Magnussen.
“The pace was really good actually – we had much better pace than we expected. Even with those upshifts that were costing half a second per lap we were quicker than we expected, so frustrating again.”
With five retirements, 15 cars finished the race and Magnussen’s team-mate Romain Grosjean would have been the last of them but for Alex Albon’s spin after being overtaken by Sergio Perez.
“It was a long afternoon,” said Grosjean. “We didn’t have much pace. We tried and pushed hard but were just not quick enough. But it’s a good track, we’ve had fun and on to the next one.”