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F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Qualifying MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02: 19th placed qualifier Kevin Magnussen of Denmark and Haas F1 looks on in the FIA garage during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 02, 2023 in Monza, Italy.

Magnussen reveals reason for lack of performance compared to Hulkenberg at Haas

The Dane has evidently been struggling driving the Haas VF-23, constantly being out-qualified by his teammate Nico Hulkenberg at Haas

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Kevin Magnussen has explained that a certain driving style that is needed to get the most out of the Haas VF-23 has lead to a difficult season compared to his teammate Nico Hulkenberg.

F1 Italian Grand Prix 2023 Practice 3Kevin Magnussen of Haas during third practice ahead of the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in Monza, Italy on September 2, 2023.
Haas had another disappointing weekend at the last race in Monza, finishing 17th and 18th (Image Credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Magnussen made a Formula 1 comeback, returning to Haas for the 2022 season. The Dane impressed significantly throughout his comeback season, including a fifth place finish at the season opener in Bahrain.

However, the 2023 season has proved to be a lot more difficult for both Magnussen and Haas. Whilst the American team has dropped off in performance, the Dane has also not performed to his ability this season.

Despite his struggles, Magnussen signed a new one-year deal with Haas, meaning he will stay with the team until the end of the 2024 season. The Dane will still be alongside current teammate Nico Hulkenberg next year.

This season has seen the 30-year-old constantly being out-qualified by Hulkenberg. Both drivers don’t score points in the race due to the tyre wear struggles with the VF-23.

V-style approach does not suit Magnussen

Explaining about his struggles, Magnussen opened up on the reason for his performance struggles. One of the main points is how the VF-23 deals with entry and transition through corners.

The 30-year-old admits that he prefers a U-style approach to an apex, which is taking a smoother and more rounded line throughout the phases of a turn. This style is good for maintaining higher minimum speeds through corners.

However, to properly execute it, the car has to have good handling through the transition. From braking on the entry of a corner and then deal well with corner turn in.

That is what the Haas VF-23 is not good at. The car loses stability with the demand of braking and rotational forces at the same time.

Instead, a V-style approach is better suited. Drivers are required to brake more in a straight line to slow the car down. Then turn in sharper before straightening up the wheel and accelerating out of the corner.

Kevin Magnussen of Haas F1 Team on track during free...AUTODROMO NAZIONALE, MONZA, ITALY - 2023/09/01: Kevin Magnussen of Haas F1 Team on track during free practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Italy.
Haas have been known for their poor tyre wear this season (Image Credit: Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Magnussen prefers U-style approach

The Dane has declared himself as a “U-man”. However, he has been trying to focus on trying to address in recent races.

“You can’t really combine Gs so much with these cars,” said Magnussen, as quoted by Motorsport.com. “I think also a big part of it is the tyres. They don’t allow you to combine G, so you can’t do a lot of rotation and braking at the same time.”

Magnussen says that the Haas VF-23 requires the drivers to “V the corners more”:

“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.”

The 30-year-old says that the transition from driving a U-style to learning to be quick with a V-style approach in not something that can be fixed overnight. He compared it to a golf player needing to change the positioning of their wrist at a certain part of the swing.

“If you are trying to change the angle of your wrist, just a couple of degrees at an exact point in the swing, the moment is gone, you’ve done it, and it’s very hard to adjust these things,” he said.

“It takes 10,000 hours before you’ve done it, because it’s really something in our central nervous system, and being done very automatically. Often, it’s best not to try too hard to change those things, but actually find ways around it.”

Haas currently sit eighth in the constructors’ championship. The American team fell 10 points behind Williams after Zandvoort and Monza.

Magnussen’s teammate Hulkenberg believes that the chance for seventh is over. Unless the team can find some “magic” somewhere.

Part of that “magic” will have to be Magnussen perfecting the V-style approach to get more out of his VF-23.

Feature Image Credit: Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

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