Rich Energy Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen said he felt much better while following a F1 car in the first day of second Barcelona test but he cannot ascertain the midfield order yet.
The 2019 F1 aero rules change with regards to the front wing and the rear wing was specifically aimed to help drivers follow other cars and eventually pass its rival without losing much time. It was received with much criticism via the windtunnel numbers.
Many team officials and even technical heads felt the rules wouldn’t help in closer racing while the FIA numbers suggested otherwise. With the changes now in place, first positive reaction has been registered with Haas’ Magnussen quite happy with the changes.
The Dane said he tried to follow another car on track on Day 1 of the second Barcelona F1 2019 test and he was not only successful in catching him, but also managed to stay with him without any balance issues and eventually pass him on track.
“I followed a car today and it really, really feels a lot better than last year,” said Magnussen to media and FormulaRapida.net. “I heard so many people, even guys from here when the car was just in the windtunnel, a lot of people were saying it wouldn’t make any difference.
“Following a car today I felt a big difference, I could actually follow. So, it will be interesting to see, I was a lot faster than the guy I was following, the lap that I caught him, I got past him. I must have been around two seconds faster.
“In which case you also would have passed him last year, but it just felt very, very, different… much better. I was behind him for maybe a lap and a half? Something like that. It felt much better than last year.
“The whole car just feels more consistent and stable behind another car. I’m looking forward to seeing if other tracks are the same – there’s always different factors you might have overlooked so you come to another track and it might be different.
“But first signs are good, I would say, in this following aspect. Maybe it’s too much (he joked). So now that we have this bigger rear wing it’s too easy to pass and we won’t see racing any more.”
The Dane’s comments will bring relief to the FIA rule makers but it remains to be seen if it indeed has a positive effect because what the other car was doing is unknown, whether Magnussen will feel the same during a race can only be seen at Melbourne.
Meanwhile, talking more about Haas’ performance and more importantly how it stacks up with the other midfield teams, the Dane couldn’t gauge as to where it stands to others as he feels it is much more difficult to predict this year than 2018.
“It is so hard to say, honestly, it is like…I don’t know, I need to go and speak to my strategy guy and see if he has some ideas, but it is very tricky – I think even more tricky this year than last year,” started Magnussen.
“I think a lot of people changed their fuel loads and programmes to last year. I felt like last year, it was a little bit obvious where everyone was and this year it is a lot more trickier. [But] maybe we will see more in the coming days.
Additional reporting by Arnau Vinales
Check out Day 1 report