Kevin Magnussen says he will “go all out” in the first Sprint of the season at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix now points are awarded down to eighth place.
Formula 1 trialled the Sprint format at three events last year, with a shorter race on Saturday setting the grid for Sunday’s grand prix. The Saturday race previously awarded three points to the winner, two to second place and one point to third, but this year a change in the rules will see the winner of the Sprint picking up eight points, with eighth place scoring a single point to encourage more racing action.
“I think it’s good that they’ve added points for finishing eighth and higher because there’s a pay bonus for points so I’m going to go all out, and the racing is going to be great!” Magnussen said, having not competed in 2021. “I think it’s interesting as last year sometimes it was a little less exciting as people were more conservative because there wasn’t as much at stake. Now that there are points, I think we’ll see more tough racing, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Haas comes into the Sprint off the back of its first scoreless weekend of the season in Australia, but Magnussen is expecting to be competitive once again in Italy.
“Imola is an awesome track but the characteristics and speed-wise – corner speeds and straights – make it a more average track. As it has a bit of everything, and this car is all-round good, I think we should be able to do well there. I’m looking forward to it because it’s an awesome track.”
Team principal Guenther Steiner says the biggest challenge will be getting the car in a good place quickly on Friday given the different schedule, as Haas struggled to do so for Magnussen and Mick Schumacher in Melbourne.
“For sure it will be challenging because we’ve only got one free practice session to find a good setup,” Steiner said. “With the difficulties of these cars and the inexperience we have got with it, it won’t be easy but it’s the same for everybody and who is better prepared will have a better car so we will be trying our best like everybody else. I think it is a good thing for the championship to have these sprint races and I really look forward to it.
“The whole weekend (in Australia) was very challenging, starting with little issues on Mick’s car and Kevin not being on top form because he didn’t feel well. Nevertheless, with all these hindrances we still got close to points.
“In the race we didn’t get lucky with the safety cars which could’ve helped our strategy but we put Australia behind us. Not as a negative, but it’s a very competitive championship this year and you need to be perfect to get points.
“What I take to Imola is that the car is still performing, and we will perform as we go on. I hope we get to Imola having fewer unfortunate instances.”