Kevin Magnussen reiterated that the 2020 Haas is much better to drive and the woes of F1 2019 has lessened as Guenther Steiner not quite happy with the penalty call.
For the first time in a long time, the car of Haas appeared to be behaving well in the F1 Hungarian GP last weekend. Strategy helped them to get up the field at the start, but in contrast to what might have happened in 2019, they did not drop back through the field at an uncontrollable rate due to their tyre woes.
Instead, they held their near at the front, and looked to be strong on pace in the race’s early stint in mixed conditions. Then, even as the F1 race progressed, their performance on various tyre compounds remained consistent.
This was evidence of the strides made by the American F1 team over the winter, and the developments on their car – one which has become much more drivable in the words of Haas’ Magnussen, who managed to eke out a point despite a penalty.
They had struggled to understand their car from last year, so the very fact that they were able to keep the tyres within a workable temperature range shows immense progress. “As I said, the car is just very usable, drivable, it’s consistent through the corners, as well as through a stint on a set of tires,” started Magnussen.
“Last year’s car, for example, you couldn’t push for very long, then you lost grip in the tires. The VF-20 seems to keep the tires in the working window for the whole stint – much better than last year’s car. I’d say that’s really the main difference.
“The characteristics of the car on a single lap is also better, but obviously we need more overall performance to be able to get more out of it in qualifying and the race. The baseline of the car is really good though,” said Magnussen.
Their car, though, is not quite there yet on one-lap pace – an area in which it has struggled more so than in the races. As such, Magnussen doesn’t foresee consistent Q2 appearances for his team any time soon, or any Q3 cameos.
“I don’t feel currently that we are strong enough for any more than sneaking into Q2 in qualifying,” said Magnussen. “We’re much stronger in the race, as I’ve said, but we just have to do the best we can in qualifying to get us as far up as we can so we can fight in the race. We certainly need to focus on qualifying from here.”
Teammate Romain Grosjean concurred Magnussen with regards to the performance in qualifying as he felt getting both cars in Q2 will be a challenge, ever more so at Silverstone. He feels the fight is with Alfa Romeo Racing and Williams.
Moving on to the penalty case from Hungarian GP, where both the Haas drivers were handed a 10 second time penalty for getting aide from the pit wall on the formation lap – a rule which not only caught the F1 team but also the fans out.
The concern from the FIA stemmed from the fact that the team ordered the drivers to pit on the formation lap – something considered to be aiding the driver at a time during which instructions are forbidden. Although, the exact call is not mentioned in the rules. In a similar way, Daniil Kvyat escaped penalty as AlphaTauri did not respond to his plea.
Reacting to the penalty, Haas boss Steiner said he’d have done the same thing again if the opportunity were to arise. He also suggests that they may have considered an appeal had they had the option, but notes that they cannot get hung up on such things and rather, should look ahead.
“For sure we would do the same thing again,” said Steiner. “The 10 second penalty was a little bit ambiguous. Unfortunately, we cannot appeal it because it’s a time penalty – you’re not allowed to appeal those ones. It was never done before, and it looks like if it’s never been done before – and there’s no clear regulation, you get a penalty.
“We need to move on from this, but for sure it spiced the race up for everybody. I don’t think we should stop doing these things in racing, otherwise accountants can race in F1.” Looking at this weekend’s race, Steiner admitted of difficulties for the team.
Here’s Guenther Steiner on points in Hungary
Here’s details of the post-race investigations including Haas
Here’s what Guenther Steiner said regarding F1 Concorde Agreement
The story was edited by Darshan Chokhani