Kevin Magnussen is about to embark on a critical year in the context of his career. Few drivers scoop up a second chance in F1. Some analysts would be inclined to say that Magnussen is in fact on his third opportunity already.
After an uninspiring season driving an admittedly challenging Renault, Magnussen has moved in at Haas. In order to beat new teammate Romain Grosjean, the Dane will need to hit top form and he believes the 2017 regulations will aid him in reaching his potential.
Increased downforce in 2017 should pair well with aggressive drivers. Those who are more willing to launch a car into a corner and sort out the details at the apex.
Magnussen is one of these drivers. His 2013 title success in Formula Renault 3.5 came in machinery based on the same philosophies that have molded this season’s F1 regulations. With downforce being at a comparative premium during Magnussen’s two campaigns at the pinnacle, he has had to adapt his style.
It’s something that the very best have to do, but it is hardly ideal, especially when you are trying to lay down a marker in any formula, let alone F1, where there is nowhere to hide.
Unlike Lewis Hamilton, for example, who had to alter his driving style to suit Pirelli tyres which were here to stay, the regulations have changed at the perfect time for Kevin to kickstart his career. Finally.
“I’m a driver that, if I have a problem, it’s most of the time because I’m overdriving,” Magnussen admitted. “I naturally tend to overdrive the car. And these new cars will probably suit that better than less downforce. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to it.”
2017 has to be last chance saloon for the Dane. With the likes of Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Stoffel Vandoorne et al making strides to book a seat in F1 for years to come, Magnussen risks being crowded out. The talent pool is huge at the moment and despite having a fantastic CV, Magnussen hasn’t lived up to the billing thus far.
This season, the excuses have to stop and the results need to come. Being a consistent driver is much easier if the car is to your liking and for Magnussen’s sake, I hope his theory regarding the 2017 rules is proven to be true.
You can only give someone the benefit of the doubt for so long.