As the Formula 1 season winds down, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen offered a frank assessment of the team’s struggles, a saga of technical challenges and unmet expectations. In an environment where every second counts, Haas finds itself grappling with a perplexing technical crisis, illustrated vividly at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
The American team, likely to end the season at the bottom of the standings, made a bold decision in Las Vegas. They rolled out the ‘old’ 2023 car for Nico Hulkenberg, while Magnussen continued with the new, yet problematic ‘B’ version. This strategic divergence set the stage for a unique experiment under the bright lights of Vegas.
Magnussen, speaking to Ekstra Bladet newspaper, didn’t shy away from describing the situation. “It’s been a rough process with that upgrade,” he admitted. The Dane highlighted a key issue plaguing the team: “Part of our problem right now is that the data we collect from the aerodynamics in particular does not make any sense.”
The comparison of the old and ‘B’ cars in Las Vegas, according to Magnussen, was poised to offer valuable insights. “Maybe it gives us a clearer picture, which we need,” he noted. However, Magnussen refrained from delving too deeply into the specifics of Haas’ technical woes. “It is always difficult to go into too much detail or publicly say exactly what is happening, but yes, (data) correlation is a challenge,” he stated, acknowledging the complexity of the situation.
Haas had pinned its hopes on emulating the Red Bull car concept to address its issues with extreme tyre wear. However, a potential mismatch with the Ferrari-supplied suspension might be complicating matters. Gunther Steiner, the team’s boss, revealed in Las Vegas, “We have received the suspension from Ferrari for next season now and we are working with it in the wind tunnel.”
Looking ahead to 2024, Magnussen remains hopeful about the new concept’s potential. He candidly observed, “We have lost some grip in high speed corners. There’s no doubt about it.” He also noted the older model’s superior deceleration, yet maintained a preference for the new package’s driving characteristics. “It definitely suits my driving style better. That’s why I’m hanging on to the new one,” he insisted.
Magnussen’s insights paint a picture of a team at a crossroads, seeking clarity amidst a haze of data and design challenges.