Magnussen: Haas completely “focused on long runs” in F1 Testing at Bahrain to try and solve Sunday woes

Magnussen, Haas driver
Photo Credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
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Fresh off completing 66 laps during the morning session of the 2024 pre-season testing’s first day, initial impressions of VF-24 from Kevin Magnussen are cautiously optimistic.

However, the team still seems to be wary of the ghosts of past tyre troubles that hampered their races thorough the course of the last campaign.

“The feeling in the car is pretty good, we focused on long runs,” said Magnussen who was quick to remind everyone of the woes during their 2023 season. “Last year, our issue was tyre performance in the race, and that’s what we’ve been trying to work on this morning. We will be for the rest of the test pretty much.”

The Danish driver said that finding answers to their tyre issues is one of the major aims of the test for the team. While suggesting that they are stepping into the 2024 race calendar with caution, he emphasised the issues of VF-24’s predecessor, as well as highlighting the changes required in the team’s approach to a race weekend.

“Last year we had a car […] if you only gave points for qualifying then we would’ve had a much better year than we did.

“With the field being so tight, it’s very important that we focus on Sunday performance, race performance and not qualifying.

“At the end of the day we want to get pole every time, but the best way to improve our season is improve on Sundays. That’s what we’ll focus on from now on.”

When asked about the reference point Haas F1 were using to judge the performance of their new package, Magnussen stated it was easier to contrast the data collected from the 2024 test sessions with the car Haas ran in the 2023 Bahrain race weekend, and not the upgraded package used from Austin onwards.

“We didn’t run the race nineteen upgrade at this track, so yeah, we compare to the old car — which had an issue that we didn’t fix with the nineteen car. We changed the characteristics of the car — it was nicer characteristics, but we were much lower downforce with that upgrade. So, I think, we are in a better place with this car, but so is everyone else.

“Comparing to other teams and trying to figure out where we stack up is hard.”

The Haas driver was hopeful about the new rear axle, cautioning that they were still discovering it, but up until this moment it looked positive.

“It’s basically about being able to manage ride heights at the end of the day with stiffness, and making less compromises.”

However, the objective for the 2024 tests still remains to figure out the tyre problems of 2023.

“I don’t think we have answers, we have clues. And that’s what we’re gonna work with.”

Nico Hülkenberg echoed the same sentiments in the press conference, stating, “Obviously we want to somewhat recover from last year and do better, especially on Sundays.”