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

Kevin's first visit to Intercity Istanbul Circuit coming up this weekend - the Dane looks ahead to the Turkish Grand Prix.

With just two and a half hours between your only practice session and the start of qualifying at Imola thanks to F1 trialling a two-day race format – how did you adapt to processing the data with your engineers in a shortened time window. Does experience come to the fore as a driver in those situations?

“I think it was a cool challenge having only the one practice session. It meant that you really had to get on your pace quickly, you didn’t have any time to cruise around. The time between the sessions, it got busy, there was a lot of decisions to take. You usually make those after FP2, maybe after FP3 if it’s a big decision. We didn’t have long to sort out the car.”

 

You battled adversity throughout the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix having been spun out by Sebastian Vettel at the start, followed by an on-going gearbox issue which took its toll physically lap after lap before the team’s eventual retirement of your car. How do you keep engaged in those race circumstances? 

“Well I had a good start, the first lap was going well and I was up to P13 from P17. I was spun around by Vettel – which was pretty annoying. I got going again and I felt the car wasn’t too damaged. I started pushing, in the hope that something like a safety car could put me back in the race. It’s important to be pushing hard as you can, even though things might not look too good. It’s a brilliant track, and I was driving a Formula 1 car around one of the best tracks in the world. You can enjoy that as well, even though you’re frustrated about being knocked out of the race – so that’s what I did. Of course, I had the problem with the gearbox, which made things even worse. By the end of it the team called me in.”

 

You’re visiting some circuits this season that are new to you in your career, Imola being an example as well as the upcoming visit to Intercity Istanbul Park. Many drivers are expressing their joy at being able to experience a mix of old and new circuits in 2020. From a driver’s perspective, what is it that delivers those elements of pleasure at a track? 

“I would say generally it’s street circuits and old circuits that are the best. There are a few of the new tracks that are quite cool, but generally they are less exciting because they tend to build them totally flat, with flat kerbs and lots of tarmac run-off area. It’s basically like driving on a big parking lot between two white lines. That’s not too exciting. So, when you go to tracks like Imola or Suzuka – and F1 will go to Zandvoort as well which is cool, these old tracks are just way cooler. Street circuits, of course, are exciting as you’re driving between walls on a street at full speed.”

 

The Turkish Grand Prix returns to the Formula 1 calendar this weekend. With no prior test or race experience at the circuit, have you studied previous Grand Prix footage of races at Intercity Istanbul Park. Is there any value beyond track familiarity in reviewing previous races?  Is the prospect of visiting a new circuit, and the challenges it faces, something that still excites you as a driver?

“I’m looking forward to going to yet another new track. Istanbul is one of the newer circuits that looks pretty interesting. There are some big high-speed corners, I expect these cars to be easily flat – full throttle. Nonetheless, it looks pretty cool from what I’ve seen. I think it’s good to watch as much as you can in terms of onboard videos, previous races, just to kind of get an idea about lines and what kerbs to use and bumps to avoid. In the end though you learn a ton more when you go and drive it yourself.” 

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