Kevin Magnussen is confident drivers will not be rusty when the 2020 Formula 1 season finally gets going after the extended winter break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The opening 10 races have been called off due to the outbreak of coronavirus but F1 hopes to get the heavily-delayed campaign off the ground with a series of behind closed doors double-header events, beginning with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5.

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton said he reckons drivers will be “rusty as hell” when the season starts, while Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo expects the first race to be chaotic because of the prolonged hiatus.

But current Haas driver Magnussen - who spent over a year on the sidelines between his final F1 start for McLaren at the end of the 2014 season and his return with Renault in 2016 - doubts drivers will struggle when racing begins.

"It wouldn't fear me, but it would be exciting in a way," Magnussen told Sky Sports F1.

"We've been out of it for so long now. But I know that you don't really forget it. You don't get that rusty. You get a little bit rusty, but you don't get that rusty.

"I had a whole season out of a race car in 2015, and that was really out completely out of a race car," he added.

"I had two test days, one in a DTM, one in an LMP1 car, but nothing in a Formula 1 car. So in 2016, winter testing, when I got back in a Formula 1 car, it didn't take many laps. It felt like I had only been out of the car for a normal winter.

"You pick it up quickly, and it's been the same for everyone. It's just exciting, and it would be good to be back.”

F1 bosses are working on plans to create a “biosphere” environment at the Red Bull Ring so that races can safely go ahead behind closed doors with limited personnel present in the paddock.

Magnussen said it is “not ideal” to return to racing without fans, but backed F1’s proposal to get the season underway.

"It's going to be a big job to get it done. But anything it takes to get back to racing really, I'm up for it,” he explained.

"We need to do everything we can to ensure we do it in a safe way for everyone. It's not ideal, but it's better than not racing by a long way. If we all get together, I think we can do it.

"We'll see what the measures will be and what we'll need to do, but from what we hear it's already quite a lot, and it's going to be very different.

"I'm still looking forward to it, still looking forward to getting back on-track nonetheless."

 

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