Kevin Magnussen insists he would rather be racing for Haas and overachieving than part of an underperforming bigger team such as Renault, McLaren or Williams.
Haas looks set to finish fifth in the constructors’ championship this season, heading into the final race weekend of the year 24 points behind Renault. Purchasing many parts from Ferrari and operating with a smaller workforce than many of its midfield rivals, Magnussen believes that shows Haas to be exceeding expectations, a situation which he prefers over a bigger team with unfulfilled potential.
“As a team, we’re doing better and better,” Magnussen said. “We’re learning as we go. For us, we’re such a new team, performing at such a high level already, sometimes we’re a bit short of experience for the performance levels being achieved.
“We’re fighting big, experienced teams like Renault, McLaren, Williams and, as a new team, sometimes it’s hard to avoid mistakes because of a lack of experience. I’d rather be in an inexperienced team overperforming than in an experienced team underperforming.”
Magnussen has equaled his own personal best points tally in Formula 1 this year, matching the 55 points scored in his rookie season for McLaren, though he feels he should have bettered that total by now.
“I think 55 points is good for a midfield team, but I still think there was potential for more this year. That’s both a positive and a negative. Positive, because we’ve showed we have great potential in the team to do more, but of course, it’s always disappointing not to get everything out of it as you could. We’re learning as a team and next year we’ll have even more experience. We’ll have learned a lot from this year and, hopefully, we can do a bit more next year.”
And while lost points in Australia was one of the biggest blows to Haas’ chances of finishing fourth in the constructors’ standings, Magnussen is confident there is no single clear weakness that needs improving from the team’s point of view.
“It’s hard to point your finger at one thing. I don’t feel like it’s one issue that’s been re-occurring. I think we’ve just faced a lot of different challenges. That’s been a theme for the year. A lot of things that could go wrong, did go wrong. We haven’t had the margins on our side this year. A lot of things just tipped over to the wrong side to our disadvantage. Sometimes you have seasons like that. Generally, though, we’ve been strong all year. We’ve just had some missed opportunities.”