Magnussen: COTA always makes for a good show

Magnussen: COTA always makes for a good show

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Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen expects an interesting race at the Circuit of the Americas. The United States Grand prix is the home round of the Formula 1 calendar for his Haas F1 Team.

The Far East swing involved plenty of highs and lows for Haas F1 Team. The team had to overcome two crashes – one in Malaysia and another in Japan – yet your eighth-place finish in Japan helped the team regain seventh in the constructors’ standings. Talk about how the team handled that adversity and then delivered when it was time to race.

“We just cracked on and did our thing. Obviously, I was really happy about our result in Japan. It’s good to be back in seventh, but it’s going to be a really tough challenge to maintain that position for the rest of the year. We will give it our best.”

Japan was obviously the high point of the Far East swing with a double-points finish. How important was that result as the team heads into its home race – the United States Grand Prix?

“I think it was the best result we could’ve scored in Japan. Hopefully, we can still be strong in America. It would be great to have a good result in front of the team’s home crowd.”

Japan’s Suzuka Circuit has been a strong venue for Haas F1 Team. It was the first track where Haas F1 Team got both its cars into Q3, and it was the scene of the team’s second double-points finish. How does that track seemingly play to Haas F1 Team’s strengths?

“I think we just made the best of it. It’s not really because we were fast enough to be there. We showed that in qualifying. We made the best of an eventful race and scored points with both cars.”

Haas F1 Team has accomplished a lot in its two Formula One seasons. Can you talk about the team’s growth this year and, specifically, how it has compared to other teams you’ve driven for?

“It’s been great. We’ve got more people coming. We’re improving and growing in all areas. It’s great to see the team going in the right direction.”

Kevin MagnussenYou’re racing for an American team in the United States Grand Prix. Because of that, does walking into the paddock at COTA and driving out of the garage and onto the track take on greater significance or give you an added sense of pride?

“It’s fantastic being on an American team, racing at an American venue.”

When you first competed at COTA in 2014, what did you think of the venue?

“It’s a really cool track. It’s one of the better new tracks on the F1 calendar. They’ve done a really good job there.”

COTA’s first corner is at the top of a hill – a blind and tight left-hander that sends drivers into a section modelled after Silverstone’s Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel complex. How do you approach that corner knowing there’s a moment when you don’t know what’s on the other side?

“The braking zone is really uphill, so you can brake really late. You can’t see the apex of the exit, but the track is so wide you can choose different lines.”

COTA has been described as having the most overtaking opportunities of any track on the Formula One calendar. Is this accurate and, if so, what makes COTA better for overtaking than other venues?

“It’s certainly one of the better tracks for overtaking. It always makes for a good show.”

What is your favourite part of COTA?

“Sector one. I like it simply because it’s fast.”

Describe a lap around COTA.

“Big, wide and up and down.”

Austin has become a destination venue for the Formula One industry, much like Singapore and Monaco. Why does the city resonate so well with those in Formula One?

“The city’s just great for going out. There are great restaurants and great places for having fun. Having a Formula One race there is the perfect package for having a good weekend.”

Your dad, Jan, has been able to carve quite an impressive sports car career in the United States, most recently by winning the 2017 GTLM driver and team championships in IMSA. What’s it been like to have parallel racing careers, albeit in different series?

“I think it’s great. He’s had a career in the United States for nearly 20 years now. I’ve always been following him and I’ve been to many of the races. I’ve always enjoyed American motorsport. Hopefully one day, when I’m finished in Formula One, I can explore a bit and have a go at racing in America.”

Your dad said that in order to win this year’s title, he and the team had to overachieve on the bad weekends and make the absolute most of the good weekends. Is that what racing’s all about, and how applicable is that mindset to what you do here with Haas F1 Team?

“Winning a championship – often it’s won by minimizing the lows, not so much getting great results once in a while. It’s really about consistency, and I think that’s what they’ve done this year. At Haas F1 Team, we’re not fighting for the championship. Our situation is a little bit different. We just need to score as many points as we can. We’re not always naturally fast enough to be in the points. We have to really try and overachieve on our best weekends to try and get those points.”

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