Magnussen’s qualifying struggle ‘not acceptable’ – boss

Wed, 6 March 2024, 09:00

Mar.6 (GMM) It is “not acceptable” for Kevin Magnussen to be so far behind his teammate Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying, Haas’ new team boss has warned.

Over the winter, the struggling small American team’s owner Gene Haas ousted long-time boss Gunther Steiner, replacing him with engineer Ayao Komatsu.

But arguably a bigger concern for Haas was solving the fundamental flaw of last year’s car – excessive tyre wear over a longer stint.

In Bahrain, it became clear that Haas has made clear progress in that area. But equally clear was the big gap between Hulkenberg’s qualifying pace – good enough for Q3 – and that of teammate Magnussen.

The gap between them was a whopping 7 tenths.

“For qualifying,” Komatsu told Ekstra Bladet newspaper, “you need a strong front. Then you can drive the car right to the limit.

“When it comes to fine-tuning the car, Nico is really good at that. And Nico is really, really good at getting everything out of it – balancing on a knife-edge.

“Kevin, on the other hand, needs a certain balance in the car,” the Japanese added. “In qualifying, to achieve certain things, he sacrificed what he fundamentally needs in the corners, so he couldn’t put a lap together. But we have learned from it.

“Honestly, it’s just Kevin’s driving style,” Komatsu said. “We know it. We know how to fix it. And we’ll do better in Jeddah.”

Komatsu clarified that he is not critical of Magnussen’s talent or skills per se.

“He has lots of talent,” he said. “It’s just small margins, which suddenly became seven tenths in Q2. Which is not acceptable – neither from his side nor from our side.

“We’ll do better,” Komatsu repeated.

You may also like