Ahead of his first ever grand prix in Australia, Kevin Magnussen can hardly contain his excitement and already the young Dane has gathered a legion of followers impressed by the way he applied himself during preseason testing.
“Wow – it feels strange knowing that the next time I drive my car out of the garage, it will be for free practice at the Australian Grand Prix'” enthused Magnussen. “It’s crazy to even think about racing in Melbourne – I’ve never been to Australia before, and the grand prix has always been something that I’ve watched very early in the morning on TV back in Europe. To not only be arriving in a new country, but also taking part in the grand prix is incredibly exciting.
“I think we head down under having had a solid winter – we know we have a lot of work left to do, but we have a good basis from which to go forward. We know where the car is strong, and where there’s more work left to do – and we’re addressing those areas. But I’ve said it all along: the car is driveable and predictable; it does what we ask it to do, which is a positive.”
Magnussen has been fast tracked to the McLaren race seat alongside one of the elder statesmen of Formula 1, and in Jenson Button he will not only find an ideal role model but also someone he can strive to beat, to set his own benchmark.
“Personally, it’ll be important for me to finish these early races in order to get some good mileage under my belt. Even though I’ve had a good winter, I’m under no illusions that I’m a still a rookie, and that I’m giving something away to the guys with more experience.”
“However, the new regulations have made it more of an even playing field, so a couple of good practice sessions and some race distances will help enormously in getting me fully race-ready.”
Lack of real world testing is one of the controversial issues that have dogged the sport since the rules were adopted, as young drivers arrive at the pinnacle of the sport without enough track time in a Formula 1 car.
Magnussen aludes to this fact, “There’s no substitute for being in the car – and there’s so much for me to still learn about driving a Formula 1 as close to the limit as possible while still focusing on tyre management, fuel-saving and the controls and switches we operate from the cockpit.”
“But I’m really looking forward to being in a race – that’s why I’m here, and I can’t wait to get started,” added Magnussen who will be one of three rookies on the grid in Mlebourne, the others being: Marcus Ericsson and Daniil Kvyat. (GP247)