Kevin Magnussen believes the fundamental issues with Haas’s 2019 Formula 1 car were apparent as early as the second race of the year in Bahrain, causing “a little bit of panic” within the team.

Haas struggled throughout the 2019 season with its often unpredictable VF-19 car that suffered from aerodynamic issues, as well as not working well with the Pirelli tyres.

The team would often qualify well before dropping back through the field, limiting Magnussen and teammate Romain Grosjean to a combined total of seven points finishes through the season.

Magnussen put Haas’s struggles down to “a few different reasons”, but identified Bahrain as being the first race where it was clear something was wrong with the car.

“It became very clear in Bahrain that we had a problem, which was really strange because in winter testing and in the first race the car was really good,” Magnussen said.

“Even in Bahrain we qualified sixth or something, up there. Then in the race it just completely fell apart. So from there on it was a little bit of panic in the team. We couldn’t really focus on or find the real root of the problem.

“We were looking a lot at tyres and blaming the problem on tyres issues whereas in fact it was a little more simple, I think, just aero issues, unstable aero and the whole platform just not being strong enough and consistent, stable enough.

“It’s a very, I would say, frustrating problem, because we have able to qualify well but in the race we just have not had any strength. That’s very frustrating as a driver, where you start in a position and then you’re just fighting to try to hang on to your position rather than attacking the guy in front. In that way it’s been pretty frustrating.”

Despite Haas’s issues through the season, Magnussen felt there was still plenty of confidence for the team given its relative youth to the rest of the field, backing it to bounce back for 2020.

“We are a very young team, it’s only our fourth year,” Magnussen said.

“Last year we got P5 in the constructors’ championship. I think that’s pretty impressive. I don’t think many teams have done that in their third year.

“We’ve got to take some confidence from that as well and just build on the experience that we have had this year and the learning that we have done, and then just come back stronger next year.”

 

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