13 March 2014
Australian Grand Prix: Magnussen ‘ready as you can be’ for F1 debut
Kevin Magnussen believes he is ready for the Australian F1 weekend after a long winter of preparation with McLaren.
Kevin Magnussen says that the McLaren team has done everything it can to help him acclimatise to F1 ahead of his race debut in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.
The Dane graduates to the top flight as reigning World Series by Renault champion, and proved to be too hot a talent for McLaren to let slip away, the Woking squad opting to oust Sergio Perez just one year into his deal to make way for the newcomer. Now, with three test sessions – and a host of miles in the simulator - under his belt, Magnussen believes that he is as well prepared as he could possibly be to take the next step in his stellar career.
“I'm just really excited to be here,” he admitted, “It's been a long winter since signing, [so] I've been looking forward to this weekend.
“I'm feeling good. It's been a good winter in terms of preparation with the team. They've done a really good job in terms of preparing me for this. It's not easy. It's a big job, a big challenge, but I think I'm pretty much as ready as you can be these days. I've done a lot of work over the winter, but I'm not underestimating the challenge that I'm facing. It's a big challenge, but I'm looking forward to it.”
Despite his lack of experience, Magnussen appears far from over-awed at being paired with 2009 world champion Jenson Button, and insists that he will just keep his head down and make the most of the working alongside the Briton.
“We all know that you are measured against your team-mate, but I don't see it like that,” he claimed, “I try and do my best, try and learn as much as I can in the early part of the season and see where it takes me. There is a lot pressure in being in F1, especially when you are with as big team as I am, but it's where I want to be, I've always dreamed of being with McLaren and I'm here and I'm going to do my best and try not to worry too much about the negative things.”
Those 'negative things' could potentially include McLaren's apparent lack of progress during pre-season testing, where the MP4-29 looked promising initially, but failed to move on. Magnussen, however, has different ideas.
“I think, for the whole of testing, we pretty much ran the launch car and were behind a little bit on development – but the car feels good,” the Dane insisted, “If you didn't know the lap times of the other guys, you would think that it's pretty fast – and that's a good sign.
“I don't have a lot of experience with F1 cars, but definitely the car that we had last year just didn't have the right feeling about it. This year's car is responding well in terms of driving and set-up changes, and has a good feel about it.
“If we can just put some downforce on the car and keep developing as we did over the winter, I think we can be in a good position. The team obviously comes off a difficult season [in 2013] and they are massively motivated to come back to where they belong - and that's a good feeling.”
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