Kevin Magnussen insists that he is not going to let missing Friday's FP1 session at the Russian Grand Prix become an issue, but maintains that he would rather have as much time in the cockpit as possible.
The Dane has been asked to make way for Russia's Sergey Sirotkin in the opening session of round four of the 2016 season, with the GP2 frontrunner getting to make his F1 debut in front of his home fans at Sochi Autodrom, but, after having to sit out much of day one in China because of mechanical problems, his absence is another blow to the development of the troubled RS16.
“I am not going to comment on the timing, or whether it is right or wrong,” Magnussen shrugged, “It is a step in the right direction if I get to practice, as it is more than I have had. I prefer to get maximum time in the car, but I don't think it is going to be too big of a problem.
“[The track] evolves a lot from FP1 to FP2, and even during FP1, so FP1 is always assessing and doing aerodynamic runs, and it is not that important. [Missing out] just puts more focus on FP2 and FP3 really, because P1 is more about setting up the car and doing aero runs and so on. So it is okay really, it does not make a massive difference. In FP2, I'm going to spend more laps trying to get back into the circuit than if I had had FP1, but we are not on the supersoft in FP1 anyway, and the supersoft is what we are going to qualify on, so it is okay.”
Team-mate Jolyon Palmer was a beneficiary of drivers missing sessions in 2015, as his reserve role mandated that, in the main, Romain Grosjean stepped aside on Friday mornings to give the Briton development time behind the wheel. Palmer has intimated that both Renault drivers will take turns to sit and watch as the team's various reserves a run this season.
“For the third driver, it is really good,” Magnussen agreed, “If the third driver thing is going to work, you have to give him seat time, time in the car, but, for myself, not driving at all last year, [getting] no laps is not ideal.”
Without a point on the board, Renault languishes alongside Manor and Sauber at the foot of the constructors' table, and Magnussen is keen to kick-start the season as soon as possible.
“I wouldn't say I am really desperate at the moment, and anyway it is not like we're fighting for wins or podiums at the moment, but it would be nice to score points,” he admitted, “It is not nice seeing a zero on the scoreboard, so it would be nice to have some points in front of Renault - and we will get it sooner or later.
“We knew it was going to be a tough start to the season, and it has been. We have been close to points into races, and then, in the last race, we were far from points. We just have to look forward to the stuff that is coming later on in the season, and also next year and the year after...”