Haas’ Kevin Magnussen was forced to withdraw from the afternoon session on Day 2 of pre-season testing in Barcelona, with rookie Pietro Fittipaldi stepping in to replace the Dane.
After Romain Grosjean’s strong start to testing with Haas on Monday, it was Kevin Magnussen’s turn to drive the VF19 on Tuesday. He had a similarly good day as he finished P3 in the times with a best time of 1:19.206 on the C3 tyre. This left him a second off the pace of the frontrunning time set by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on the same tyre.
However, despite being scheduled for the full day, Magnussen withdrew to the pits with 59 laps to his daily tally during the afternoon session. Shortly after, Pietro Fittipaldi, the team’s young test driver, was announced as replacing Magnussen for the rest of the day.
Magnussen explained this issue afterwards and said that a protruding headrest meant that his head was being forced into an uncomfortable downward facing position: “I was sitting with my head pointing downwards, and struggling to look up and see. The headrest was too far forward so when I braked, it was not easy to see. I couldn’t drive like that any more. It’s something we need to fix and it’s an easy fix, but we just don’t have the parts here or another headrest we can fit so we need to get that sorted.”
Apart from that, the Danish driver was relaxed and happy after another relatively trouble-free day for Haas. While there were some ‘minor niggles’ that occasionally delayed getting out on track, he said they were of no concern for the team: “A few small issues, nothing major or anything, just things that need to be sorted and looked at. They stop us from running once in a while but nothing that is a big worry or anything. Apart from that, it’s a really good feeling in the car and it’s handling well. Good stability and consistency, lots of stuff to learn and look at. We’re clear on what direction we need to go and what to work on.”
Despite the team finishing P3 on both days with similar laptimes and deficits to the front, Magnussen said that the team can’t tell where they lie in the pecking order as they aren’t looking to outright performance just yet: “It’s very early days and we’re just looking at running the car consistently and sort out problems with the car and find problems. We’re running for reliability and the early learning of the car. It’s not particularly exciting, this part of testing, but even next week when it’s a bit more exciting it’s still unclear as to where we are. We have no reason to be worried. Very difficult to judge where we are. Some teams we expect to be very good looked slow today but i’m sure they’re not and are just focused on other stuff.”
“The early impression is that the car is feeling good and no big issues or inconsistency. It’s nice to drive and predictable. I get in, and it feels like home. We’re not getting carried away, the timesheet today is not how it is in reality but we’re not too bad.”