Kevin Magnussen “didn’t even feel” race-ending contact but is encouraged by VF-23’s “decent pace”

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Picture Credits: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

Last Sunday’s incident packed Australian Grand Prix featured three red flags. The second of these was shown late on to enable Kevin Magnussen’s stranded Haas to be recovered from the track. As dramatic as the collision with the wall looked on television, K-Mag told media afterwards that he ‘didn’t even feel’ his race-ending contact.

The 2023 Australian F1 Grand Prix will surely live long in the record books (as well as the memory) after its record breaking three red flags. Alex Albon’s crash on lap nine had resulted in gravel and debris on track and so a first red flag (albeit a controversial one for many) was waved to clear the mess. Sunday’s contest was later halted a second time on lap 56 when Kevin Magnussen ran wide out of Turn 2 and could not correct his error. His sliding car made contact with the wall on his right hand side. The contact was such that it ripped the entire rear-right wheel rim off his Haas VF-23. All of this was before the melee of the penultimate lap which consequently brought out a third red flag.

Speaking after his collision to media in the paddock, Kevin Magnussen stated: “I brushed the wall at the exit of Turn 2 and the rim broke, the tyre came off and I had to stop. I didn’t even feel it so it definitely wasn’t something that felt big in the car, but it was enough to crack the rim and take the tyre off.”

It says on every ticket purchased ‘motorsport is dangerous’ and so that proved to be the case on Sunday for an unfortunate member of the public in the crowd.

Twitter broke the news that Will Sweet had been hit by the flying debris from the car of his ‘favourite driver’. Part of Magnussen’s rear-right wheel rim had left a deep cut on the fan’s right arm and he was given medical attention at the track. The tweet featured a smiling Sweet holding the debris but despite this image also mentioned how he did not even get to keep the mangled metal – as other ‘fans’ took off with it. The incident was a reminder of the danger that comes from attending a Grand Prix whether on or off the track.

Kevin Magnussen reflected on his race defining incident and clearly saw last Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix as a missed opportunity with situations not quite falling his way.

“It’s unfortunate, we were in P12 I think at that time and it didn’t look like I was going to be able to score points. We got unlucky with the first red flag as we had just pitted from P11 and we seemed to be quicker than the next couple of cars so I was fairly confident at that stage of the race. Then we pitted under the safety car and just afterwards, it turned to a red flag. Everyone put their tyres on to go to the end of the race and we were last,”

However, it was not all doom and gloom for the Danish driver as there were definitely positives to take away from Melbourne ahead of the extended break due to the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix: “It wasn’t my day but it seemed like the car had decent pace so I’m encouraged by that and we’ll push next time,” Magnussen remarked.

MoneyGram Haas F1 Team sit P7 in the 2023 F1 Constructors’ Championship at present. The American-owned racing outfit is a single point behind Alpine F1 Team but also only one point ahead of Alfa Romeo. The battle of the F1 midfield this season is once again a closely contested affair. The last thing they want is expensive race-ending incidents.

Meanwhile, with six of Haas’ seven points of the season coming from F1 returnee Nico Hülkenberg, it will be crucial for both drivers to be regular point scorers. Kevin Magnussen will know the importance of consistently delivering on track to have any chance of helping Haas F1 Team climb higher up the charts – and keep his F1 seat in the process.