Imola Grand Prix – Haas opted to retire Kevin Magnussen from the race at Imola, after the Dane suffered a bad headache caused by violent gearbox upshifts.Kevin Magnussen had a miserable race at Imola. Starting from P17 on the Medium compound, Magnussen was tagged by the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel at the Tosa corner. This spun the Haas driver around and right to the back of the field, with the stewards deciding the incident didn’t warrant any penalty for Vettel.
From there, Magnussen stayed out until Lap 27 on the Mediums. Rising as high as P8 as others pitted, he had a few moments of fun as he raced with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Alpha Tauri’s Daniil Kvyat but ultimately fell back in the pack before pitting for Hard tyres.
Now well and truly at the back of the pack, Magnussen began to complain on the radio about suffering a bad headache from banging his head continuously due to violent upshifts from his gearbox. Asked whether he wanted to retire, Magnussen said that it wasn’t his call but that he was struggling.
Shortly after, Haas brought him in and retired him – officially citing the gearbox issue as the reason.
“We had a problem with the gearbox – we had it yesterday as well on my fastest lap in qualifying.” explained Magnussen. “The problem came back in the race, it was there from the first lap. I was having slow up-shifts, and not only are they slow, it’s also like a big bang every time you up-shift. It seems ok for a couple of laps but then it starts shaking your head crazily.
“By the end I just had a massive headache – I told the team. I think they felt there was nothing to fight for, so they boxed me. I mean, I was spun around at the start and that was really the end of it. I lost so much time getting back on track. The pace was really good actually, it was better than we had expected – even with the up-shifts that were costing us around half a second a lap.”
Team boss Guenther Steiner, who has recently come forward to say the Danish driver deserves to remain in Formula 1 despite dropping him for 2021, said the FIA wouldn’t allow them to change the sensors that might have fixed their issues.
“Kevin (Magnussen) getting together with Sebastian (Vettel) at turn seven, well that put him in a place where there’s not a lot to do.” said Steiner afterwards. “But he caught up pretty well in the end. He then had the gearbox issue which we had since after qualifying, but we were not allowed by the FIA to change the sensors without penalty – so that went against us.”