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Kevin Magnussen, MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
Kevin Magnussen, MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

Round 3 of the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship takes MoneyGram Haas F1 Team to the Albert Park Street Circuit, in Melbourne, for the Australian Grand Prix.

MoneyGram Haas F1 Team heads to Australia in sixth position in the Constructors’ Championship, buoyed by a promising point-scoring opening chapter to 2024, in which encouraging race performance has been bolstered by strong and collaborative teamwork both on- and off-track.

Australia is where the race journey began for MoneyGram Haas F1 Team in 2016, and on that occasion, Romain Grosjean scored sixth place to kick-start life in Formula 1 for the team. It is also the place where MoneyGram Haas F1 Team driver Kevin Magnussen made his grand prix debut, in 2014, when he joined an exclusive club of grand prix podium debutants by classifying second, a feat which has not been repeated in the decade since the Dane’s silverware success.

Nico Hulkenberg claimed a best of sixth, which he also achieved in 2014, while he has finished seventh on five occasions in Melbourne, including in a 2023 race littered with accidents and incidents.

Nico Hulkenberg, MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
Nico Hulkenberg celebrates with the Australian fans after securing 7th place in last year's race in Melbourne.

Australia has been part of Formula 1’s calendar since 1985, when the streets of Adelaide were turned into a race track, emerging as the venue for the championship’s season finale. Melbourne took over as host duties in 1996, moving to an early-season date, and the Formula 1 grand prix has become a favorite fixture in Victoria’s capital’s sports roster.

The 16-turn 5.2km circuit, comprising the public roads of leafy Albert Park in the shadow of Melbourne’s skyline, is a tricky venue with high track evolution and several high-speed curves. The abundance of gravel traps and proximity of walls means there is limited room for error, as witnessed in 2023’s grand prix, which was red-flagged a record-breaking three times. 

After the opening two grands prix took place on a Saturday, Australia’s grand prix will revert to a more familiar timetable, with two free practice sessions Friday, the final practice session and qualifying Saturday, and the 58-lap race Sunday.


Ayao Komatsu, MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
Ayao Komatsu – Team Principal:

“Having focused our pre-season testing on our biggest weakness from last year – our race pace – I think after the first races which are two very different circuits in very different conditions, we’re pretty satisfied that we have made a step forward both in terms of car and set-up. In the next few races, we need to prove until we do four races, four different tracks, with different tires and climates, we can’t make a concrete conclusion. Between Bahrain and Jeddah, which are two very different circuits and in both races we performed strongly, that’s a very positive takeaway. 

“Scoring points in Saudi was extremely important. As soon as we completed pre-season testing, we knew that we were going to be fighting for the last points, P9 or P10, with four other teams, minimum. I was slightly unhappy after the Bahrain Grand Prix because I felt we could’ve done better in terms of strategy to give ourselves the best chance. In Jeddah, we absolutely did that by maximizing the team’s strategy, with Kevin creating space for Nico. From that point on, they both drove faultlessly, Kevin was driving to the target lap time and Nico didn’t make any mistakes and extended the stint. Kevin also showed that once he was free, he showed how much pace he had so it again proves that we have a strong car this season in terms of consistent race pace.

"I’m looking forward to Melbourne, again it’s a very different circuit. The downforce level will be back to Bahrain’s level, but it’s a very different circuit from there. Bahrain is more traction-orientated whereas Melbourne is a bit more mixed. It has front limitation as well, and under high speed it’s a bit more limited and then the type of corner is very different. In terms of car set-up, even though the demands are different, we’re still going to be focused on the long-run pace. Degradation won’t be as low as Jeddah, or as high as Bahrain, so somewhere in between.

“It will also be the first time this year that we use the C5 tire compound. Historically, we’ve struggled to get the tires to work in qualifying, so it’s going to be interesting. Another big factor is tire graining, which previously dominated our tire degradation. We haven’t had severe graining this year so far, so this will be another new challenge for us to manage this weekend.

“Bahrain is a rough traction, rear-limited circuit and Jeddah is much higher speed with smooth tarmac and with lower downforce level. Melbourne has a similar downforce level to Bahrain, but not as rear limited, it has got high-speed corners and the type of corner is different. When we go to Suzuka, that famous Sector 1 with medium- to high-speed corners, they all have different demands. So, after those four races, we can draw a better conclusion about what the strengths and weaknesses of the VF-24 are and how we can manage it.”


Nico Hulkenberg, MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
Nico Hulkenberg:

“We‘re happy about scoring our first point of the season in Saudi Arabia. Everyone saw how much effort it takes for midfield teams to fight for a top 10 result and teamwork was definitely the key. Now I'm looking forward to Melbourne, I have many positive memories about Albert Park and the special atmosphere around it. For sure, it’s going to be a very tight fight for every position again.”


Kevin Magnussen, MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
Kevin Magnussen:

"I think Saudi Arabia was another positive weekend, although on paper the Jeddah circuit probably wasn’t the best for us with the high-speed characteristics of it. We were still relatively competitive, especially in the race I had very good pace relative to others at the end, which is our focus this season. We still haven’t concluded that we’ve solved our issues from last year yet, we need to do some more races, but it was another positive sign that we’ve made progress in that area. We got a point out of it with Nico, so I’m looking forward to pushing hard for more.

“It’s always special coming back to Melbourne, I’ve got special memories from there from my first race in Formula 1. Coming back, you always have in your mind that it was the first race of the year for so many years, and that’s a special feeling. It’s a cool track as well, it’s still a very high-speed track, and it’s become more so with the changes recently but there are some slow-speed corners as well so I’m looking forward to seeing how we go there. Hopefully we can still be competitive on race day and go for more points."

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