Kevin Magnussen says it felt 'amazing' to get out on track for first free practice at the Australian Grand Prix as he and Renault made their official returns to F1 in Melbourne.
Save for a brief appearance with McLaren-Honda in Australia last year – which didn't lead to a race start -, Magnussen has been out of action since he was demoted by the Woking-based team for the 2015 season.
For 2016 though, Magnussen is fronting Renault's return to F1 as a constructor, the team giving its bold yellow-liveried RS16 its first track outing in its new hues in FP1. Though progress was stunted by the inclement weather conditions of both sessions, the Dane was nonetheless candid about his excitement for being an F1 driver once again.
“It's different, it's a different team, different people, definitely a different colour,” he said. “It just felt amazing to go out on track really. When I drove out on to the track it was just 'F**k yes, I'm here again'. It just felt so good and then massive disappointment not to get more laps because I wanted to go out and push, but there we are.”
With minimal running partly down to a consideration for a lack of spare parts, such as the front wing, Magnussen says it was a shame not to get more laps
“We just didn't feel like we were learning anything in the wet. Also because we don't have that many front wings. If we felt like we would learn something we would go, we're not that tight on parts but it's just not worth the risk.”
Discussing the distinctive look of the RS16, which was revealed in its final livery just two days ago, Magnussen says it appropriately harks back to his Formula Renault 3.5 title winning year when he drove a similar-designed DAMS car.
“You don't really notice it but it's good associations I guess with my World Series campaign. It sort of feels like home again - a yellow car with the number 20, Renault. It's good.”