Kevin Magnussen’s strong start to the season is in part down to the stability of having two years with the same team, according to Haas team principal Guenther Steiner.
Having scored a podium on debut for McLaren in 2014 and impressed in his rookie season, Magnussen lost his race seat for the following year before joining Renault in 2016. Last year he switched to Haas, making this the first time the Dane has raced for the same team in consecutive Formula 1 seasons. Steiner sees it as an important factor in his strong form so far this year.
“He likes the car and the car is good and that combination has given him confidence,” Steiner said. “He doesn’t have to overdo things. He believes in himself that he can do a good job with a good car.
“I think being with us for two years now has a lot to do with it. The first year, he figured out everybody. He knows who is who. He likes the atmosphere around the team. He hasn’t had this before and, now, coming into the second season is something new, and it’s helped pull the talent out of him.”
Magnussen has scored back-to-back top-ten finishes and is already over halfway to last year’s points total of 19, and the driver himself believes the results are a combination of the car’s pace and his own experience.
“The main thing is that we have a good car, a better car this year,” Magnussen said. “I also think it makes a big difference that I’m with the same team for a second year, having that continuity. You have a totally different preparation and some experience to rely on.”
Having finished seventh in last year’s chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Magnussen is hopeful of a repeat result as he feels this season’s car will be much more suited to the Baku City Circuit.
“Well, I think we were very lucky to find ourselves in third position in last year’s race – it wasn’t at all our natural position. We finished seventh, and even that wasn’t our natural position. We were pretty uncompetitive at last year’s grand prix in Baku, but we capitalized on other people’s mistakes. I’m sure we’re going to be more competitive and, hopefully, we’ll be as lucky as we were last year, as well.”