Kevin Magnussen hopes his experience from testing in Bahrain will help him maximise his Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.
Taking part in his debut season, Magnussen had only ever driven an F1 car on the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi and at Silverstone before testing began this season. With two pre-season tests in Bahrain, this weekend's race marks the first opportunity for Magnussen to race on a circuit he has previous knowledge of in F1 machinery, and he is hoping to use that to his advantage.
“It'll be a good experience to go racing at a circuit on which I've already driven a Formula 1 car – a first for me in fact because I already have four days' running under my belt from the recent winter tests,” Magnussen said. “While that doesn't really make a massive difference, because you can learn a circuit relatively quickly, assisted by simulator experience, it does mean you can go straight into Friday's practice sessions on the front foot. You don't need to familiarise yourself with the track first.
“I really enjoyed the tests and filming days we did in Bahrain earlier this year actually – the track has a good mix of corners, and the high-speed stuff around the back of the circuit is really enjoyable when the car is working well.”
While Magnussen expects his McLaren to be slightly more suited to the track in Bahrain, he still doesn't expect to be as competitive as in Australia.
“Although the Sakhir [Bahrain] track has several high-speed corners, it's not as fast as Sepang [Malaysia] so I'm hopeful that we'll be slightly more competitive this weekend than we were there. I still think the track temperatures and our lack of downforce will make it hard to get the car into the sweet spot we found for it in Melbourne, but I'm hopeful we'll be able to achieve a decent balance for the race.
“The grand prix itself will take place in the evening, so the track will be slightly cooler than it's been for any previous Bahrain Grand Prix. I guess that'll help all the teams, but I think we can still benefit from it. It's always fascinating to try new things, and I really hope this weekend's event, the 10th Bahrain Grand Prix, is a great success.”