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Haas F1 Winter Testing

Magnussen Cautious Despite Pre-Season Gains

26/02/2024

Haas F1’s pre-season tests reveal unexpected progress, with Kevin Magnussen and team highlighting improved performance and tire management ahead of the racing season.

Before the season even began, Haas F1 had cautioned not to expect much beyond a last-place finish in the constructors’ championship. Kevin Magnussen reveals that winter testing brought more solutions than anticipated, though he remains cautious about early season expectations.

“We’re pleased with the testing. Our aim was to focus on long runs with heavy fuel loads and race-related elements to tackle our main issue from last year, and I believe we’ve made progress,” Magnussen stated.

“I don’t want to raise expectations; there’s still a lot of work ahead, but we’ve made headway with our winter work and these testing days.”

“This circuit is tricky, especially for the rear tires, and tire degradation is usually quite high, so managing your tires here is a good indicator. Tire management isn’t easy, making it an ideal testing ground given the issues we’re aiming to resolve.”

“I’m eager to see where we stand in the race; it’s the ultimate test to gauge our progress. The team is in high spirits, there’s a great atmosphere, one I haven’t felt in a while.”

Nico Hülkenberg is also content with the efforts during these three days: “Overall, the pre-season testing went well and was positive. It’s always hard to say, I don’t want to get too excited or too optimistic, but we’ve definitely improved in areas where we struggled last year.”

“It’s encouraging to see and feel, but it was indeed necessary. It’s too early to tell our standing on the field, but these few days have been enjoyable and productive in terms of test execution and reliability. I’m excited to start the season, curious to see how it all unfolds.”

Qualification Work Not Initially Planned

Ayao Komatsu, the new team director, summarized Haas F1’s testing progress, noting that the team had made enough progress to focus on performance, which wasn’t initially planned.

“Primarily, the overall goal of pre-season testing was to enhance our race performance and manage race tire degradation, our main weakness last year, and we were fully focused on this,” Komatsu stated.

“On the first day, we managed to make considerable progress, both in terms of car setup and driving perspective. The second day was centered on tire management, but also on providing direction to the aero team for future developments, crucial for this year’s success.”

“We achieved this so well that by the start of the third day, a qualification simulation wasn’t planned, but we had progressed enough for me to confidently say we could also focus on our performance on low fuel.”

Haas F1 Targets Reliability and Race Balance

“At the same time, we concentrated on reliability and race simulation. In summary, I believe we’ve met our initial goal of understanding tire performance, providing direction to the team, and then confirming the performance and reliability for qualifications.”

“I think we’ll continue working as we did during testing, focusing first on race performance and then on qualifications. Next week, we’ll focus more on fine-tuning settings and finding a better balance between qualifications and the race.”

“Last year, we could qualify in eighth place, but we knew that wouldn’t be the case in the race. For me, testing in Bahrain is beneficial because it’s very hard on tires, meaning degradation is high.”

“You also experience different temperatures from morning to evening, which provides very good data. For me, it’s beneficial to run on a circuit that’s tough on the rear and bumpy, because if we refer to last year, that was our weakness with the VF-23, so I prefer to expose a potential problem and then adjust it on other circuits.”

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