Kevin Magnussen feels a “little bit of panic” set in at Haas when the team fell down the order at the Bahrain GP, round two of the campaign.
Although Magnussen qualified P6 at the Sakhir circuit to Romain Grosjean’s eight, the Dane fell to 13th place while Grosjean was taken out on the opening lap.
It was an unexpected slump from the American outfit, who almost immediately realised something was very wrong with their car.
Magnussen told Motorsportweek.com: “It became very clear in Bahrain that we had a problem, which was really strange because in winter testing and in the first race the car was really good,.
“Even in Bahrain in qualifying we qualified… I can’t remember, sixth of something, up there. Then in the race it just completely fell apart.
“So from there on it was a little bit of panic in the team.
“We couldn’t really focus on… kind of find the real root of the problem. We were looking a lot at tyres and blaming the problem on tyres issues whereas in fact it was a little more simple.
“We just had aero issues, unstable aero and the whole platform just not being strong enough and consistent, stable enough.
“It’s a very frustrating problem, because we have [been] able to qualify well but in the race we just have not had any strength.
“That’s very frustrating as a driver, where you start in a position and then you’re just fighting to try to hang on to your position rather than attacking the guy in front.”
After the high of P5 in the 2018 championship, Haas came crashing down.
Magnussen, though, insists they can draw positives even from that.
“You always learn in any situation but especially when it’s difficult you learn different things.
“You just have to approach your problems in a different way and I think that gives you strength and some experience that you wouldn’t necessarily have gotten if you were just cruising and driving in a perfect car.
“So in many ways it’s also been positive, both for me, as a driver, and for the team as well.”
The 27-year-old and Romain Grosjean will continue with Haas next season.