Haas boss calls out Magnussen: Quali gap ‘not acceptable’

The Haas team is no stranger to challenges, but this season, a new kind of drama is unfolding as new team boss Ayao Komatsu draws a line in the sand. Kevin Magnussen’s lag over a single lap, trailing behind teammate Nico Hulkenberg by a significant margin in Bahrain, has sparked a strong reaction from the team’s leadership.

“It is not acceptable,” Komatsu declared, pinpointing the unacceptable seven-tenths gap as a critical issue needing immediate attention. The narrative of improvement at Haas has now been overshadowed by this disparity, despite the team making strides in addressing last year’s bugbear of excessive tyre wear over race distances.

“For qualifying,” Komatsu shared with Ekstra Bladet, “you need a strong front. Then you can drive the car right to the limit.”

He praised Hulkenberg’s adeptness at fine-tuning the car and extracting its full potential, a skill seemingly at odds with Magnussen’s requirements for balance. “Kevin, on the other hand, needs a certain balance in the car,” Komatsu explained. This need led to sacrifices in cornering performance, disrupting Magnussen’s ability to deliver a cohesive lap.

“Honestly, it’s just Kevin’s driving style,” Komatsu observed, but he remains optimistic, “We know it. We know how to fix it. And we’ll do better in Jeddah.”

Despite the critique, Komatsu affirms his belief in Magnussen’s inherent talent and capability. “He has lots of talent,” he stated, attributing the gap to “small margins,” which became glaringly evident in Q2. The commitment to improvement was reiterated, signaling a hopeful turn for upcoming races.

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