Paul Ricard will be a new track for Kevin Magnussen as well. The Haas driver explains how he approached learning the layout and what are his expectations from the weekend.
How do you prepare for a venue you’ve never been to before in a Formula One car?
“I’ve been to Circuit Paul Ricard in a World Series by Renault car. It’s going to be a little bit different in a Formula One car, but at least I know the track – which way the corners go, braking points, and so on. I don’t think it will take long to adjust in a Formula One car.”
Have you spent time in the simulator to at least get an idea of what a lap in a Formula One car is like at Circuit Paul Ricard?
“I haven’t driven Paul Ricard in the simulator. Thankfully, I know the track from previous seasons in World Series by Renault.”
How does the simulator compare to actually being in a racecar, at speed, at a circuit?
“The simulator is a good tool to prepare for new circuits, or new setups, or new cars, but it doesn’t exactly feel like the real thing.”
— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) June 17, 2018
Is the simulator most used for understanding a circuit’s layout and braking points, or is it more involved than that?
“As a driver, the simulator is useful when you’re learning new tracks. It’s also useful when you’re learning new systems. Like when you join a new team, the simulator is really helpful to get to know all the names of the different switches and buttons on the steering wheel. Of course, the engineers use the simulator in a bit more advanced way, using all the numbers and the data you get out of it.”
Haas F1 Team is still relatively new, but Circuit Paul Ricard is new for everyone. Do you feel the French Grand Prix is perhaps the levelest playing field because everyone is, theoretically, starting from the same slate?
“It’s a new track, and I think everyone will get to grips with it very quickly. Most people will have driven it lots in the simulator. I’m sure it’ll be pretty level with what we’ve been through already this year.”
Haas F1 Team brought significant upgrades to its racecars in Montreal. How did they improve the car and what are your expectations for how they’ll perform in the French Grand Prix?
“The upgrades were a very positive step. We didn’t have a great weekend in Canada, but I think the car is pretty good at most circuits. We struggle a little bit at low-speed circuits, but I think Paul Ricard is a little higher speed, so, hopefully, we can be better there.”
The French Grand Prix marks the beginning of an unprecedented three-race stretch. What are your thoughts on this batch of races, and how do you balance the travel and time at the track with your home life?
“In those three weeks there’s not going to be much home life, but I’m going to bring my girlfriend with me, and another friend at one of the races, so bringing people out to the races is the best way of staying in touch.”
There is the talk of increasing the number of races on the Formula One calendar, exceeding the current slate of 21 races. What is your take on the amount of races in Formula One, and do you have an ideal number in mind?
“I don’t really mind if there are more races. It’s okay for me. I enjoy racing, so more races would be more fun.”
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— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) June 19, 2018