Kevin Magnussen is confident Haas will be able to overcome its recent struggles based on the pace this year’s car is able to display in qualifying.
Haas has reached Q3 with both drivers in all three qualifying sessions so far this season, but only has Magnussen’s sixth place in Australia to show for it. Guenther Steiner says problems getting the tires to work properly have been hurting race performances, and while the team principal is pessimistic about this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Magnussen says the signs so far this season give reason to believe the situation will improve.
“I think it’s really good that we’ve been able to do so well in qualifying this year, but obviously we also want to convert that into points in the race,” Magnussen said. “That’s where our main focus is at. It’s great to know the car is competitive over one lap; therefore it should be competitive in a race, as well. We just need to work hard at that.
“The only difference there is between qualifying and the race is that you fill it up with fuel and do more laps on the same set of tires. It’s got to be something with the tires. We don’t understand the full picture, yet, but we’re working hard to figure it out.
“The tires are slightly different this year. You have a thinner tread on the tires, which obviously would have some effect, but mainly it should help with blistering. I don’t know, though — it’s definitely the thing we’re focused on at the moment, trying to get more out of the tires in the race.”
The one race Haas has managed to convert qualifying pace into race performance so far the season was at the Australian Grand Prix, but despite Melbourne also being a temporary circuit Magnussen is not expecting a similar result in Azerbaijan.
“I think they’re two very different tracks. Baku is a low-downforce track with very long straights, slow corners, and quite low grip from the track. It’s going to be interesting to see how we go there. I don’t anticipate it to be our strongest circuit of the year, but I’m still positive we can go there and fight for points.”