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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 VF-23 Ferrari on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Komatsu: Haas F1 2024 challenger should suit Magnussen better

The Dane struggled in 2023 with the VF-23 not suiting his driving style, whilst struggling to perform against teammate Nico Hulkenberg

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New Haas Formula 1 boss Ayao Komatsu believes the American team’s 2024 challenger should suit Kevin Magnussen better.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 4: Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg go hed to head at turn 1 during the Sprint race ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 4, 2023 in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Magnussen struggled a lot more than Hulkenberg in 2023 (Image Credit: Kym Illman/Getty Images)

Kevin Magnussen struggled for the majority of the 2023 season. The Dane was unable to extract as much out of the VF-23 than his teammate Nico Hulkenberg. This was due to the car not suiting the 31-year-old’s driving style.

Magnussen’s preference is to be able to carry speed through a corner. This demands the car to handle well during the transition from braking on the approach and turn-in. However, this was a characteristic that the VF-23 was not good at.

Haas’ 2023 challenger would lose stability, whilst a driver would brake and turn at the same time. This suited Hulkenberg more, who has a V-style approach – where they brake more in a straight line, turn out and then accelerate out of the corner.

2024 car should be better for Magnussen

The Dane was, especially, struggling against Hulkenberg in qualifying. The German was able to comfortably beat the 31-year-old, showing that he could extract way more pace.

When asked about his struggles during last season, Magnussen admitted that he may have had to differ his driving style, which wouldn’t have been easy.

“You can’t really combine Gs so much with these cars. You have to V the corners more. And that’s the two different driving styles: V-style or not.

“There’s many different variations of these two, but in broad terms that’s what I find, and this year’s car on our side is even more vulnerable like that.”

During the winter break, Haas have been working hard to address the issues from 2023. During the latter races in 2023, both Haas cars were different for Magnussen and Hulkenberg – to suit both of their needs.

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-23 Ferrari and Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 VF-23 Ferrari on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 02, 2023 in Monza, Italy.
Haas did struggle significantly in the race with tyre wear issues (Image Credit: Bryn Lennon – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

However, new boss Komatsu believes that the team has ironed out some issues, which should elevate Magnussen’s performances.

When asked about if the team had completely sorted the issues hampering Magnussen, the Haas boss responded:

“I wouldn’t say eliminated, that’s a big word. But certainly, we have improved on it.

“He’s a driver who needs good entry stability and consistent [handling] through a corner.”

Magnussen and Hulkenberg a good pairing

Komatsu believes the pairing at Haas has a good working relationship. He reckons that the pair can make good progress together by staying honest with each other.

“Obviously, I’ve known Kevin [Magnussen] for some years,” he said. “Nico [Hulkenberg], I really enjoyed working with him last year. I didn’t know him before.   

“Although actually, when I was working with Lotus, he came for a seat fit – I can’t remember which year – and he remembered that as well.   

“They both know that I’m quite straightforward. I say what I think. Not being aggressive or anything, but no bullshit, it’s just that we haven’t got time to waste.  

“They know exactly where I am then, where they are, and we work well together. In terms of our strengths and weaknesses, we understand each other pretty well.  We’ve got a good open and transparent dialogue, so I’m happy with that.”  

Feature Image Credit: Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

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