Kevin Magnussen believes his late call-up to return to Formula 1 with Haas this season means his neck won’t be completely strengthened for the category until next year.
Haas moved quickly to replace Nikita Mazepin after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Magnussen getting the nod ahead of the final pre-season test in Bahrain.
The Dane instantly accepted the offer but had little time to prepare for an F1 car having been racing sports cars, and he says the condensed nature of the season doesn’t allow him the training windows to reach the level he wants until next year.
“I’m a lot further [than the start of the year], but I wouldn’t say [100 percent],” Magnussen said. “I think it will take this whole year and maybe a winter to be at… You never get to 100 percent but at the level I am driving to or that I have been in the past. Because now the season has started so you do a lot of training when you’re at home, then you go away for sort of a week, then you come back and you can’t ramp up your training.
“Then you have a double or a triple [header] – you don’t go flat-out when you are training between those races – so it’s tough to really improve your fitness through the year. But the neck is a key point and that’s getting stronger all the time.”
That’s not to say Magnussen is complaining about the lack of time between races, as he admits he is enjoying such an intense calendar after a year away from F1.
“I’m loving it, living the dream. The schedule is one that I’m very used to, the last eight years I’ve been on this schedule. Last year was an outlier, I had a lot of time on my hands, and I enjoyed that – I had a great time – but it’s also nice to be back in a schedule that I’m used to. It’s very busy of course, but it’s a lot of fun.”