Kevin Magnussen took over the Haas VF-18 during the second day of preseason testing Tuesday at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya after teammate Romain Grosjean made 55 laps around the 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn track on Monday.
Grosjean’s first drive of Haas F1 Team’s 2018 challenger took place in cool, overcast conditions that eventually turned to rain and cut his session short. Magnussen’s drive took place in even colder temperatures, with the mercury staying well below 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit), which kept the track damp and slick. This made for limited running, with Magnussen totaling just 36 laps to log 167.580 kilometers (104.129 miles).
Magnussen was the first driver to hit the track when it opened at 9 a.m. local time, but he did so carefully, making his reconnaissance lap on the Pirelli Cinturato Green intermediate tire. Magnussen returned to the track approximately three hours later shod on Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tires, but the track remained slippery, as evidenced by a short trip through the gravel on his out lap.
It wasn’t until nearly 2 p.m. that Magnussen was back on track, again with Yellow softs bolted onto the VF-18. He was able to complete two runs of 12 laps and 14 laps, respectively, before a final drive on Green intermediates as snowflakes began swirling from the sky. Magnussen’s best lap was a 1:22.727, earned on his 30th lap during his last full stint on softs.
Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set the day’s quickest time (1:19.673) and ran the most laps (98).
“It was a difficult day for us. We had lots of time in the garage. I would’ve loved to have had more laps. I got an early look at the balance and the feel of the car. We’re taking everything with a pinch of salt because it is very close to zero degrees and the tires are not performing as they will be when the track and ambient temperatures are more normal. So, we’re not really taking anything out of this, but it’s good that we’re getting all those little problems out of the way early. We’re not really missing much in terms of performance testing.”
“A difficult day for us today. We didn’t do a lot of running. We had a few smaller issues with big consequences, which meant we couldn’t get the running in that we had wanted to today. So, we didn’t learn a lot. The weather didn’t help, as well, because when we were ready the weather wasn’t there. We didn’t take advantage of the day. We just have to keep on working hard and making it up next week, as it doesn’t look like the weather’s going to get any better the rest of this week. We’ve got a few issues to work on, not that we are concerned or worried. That’s why we test. We’ll keep working.”
Grosjean returns to the Haas VF-18 on Wednesday with Magnussen completing the first week of testing on Thursday. After a four-day break, teams return to Barcelona for the second and final round of preseason testing March 6-9. Magnussen drives March 6 and March 8. Grosjean drives March 7 and March 9.
Haas F1 Team debuted in the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2016, becoming the first American Formula One team since 1986. Founded by industrialist Gene Haas, Haas F1 Team is based in the United States on the same Kannapolis, North Carolina, campus as his championship-winning NASCAR team, Stewart-Haas Racing. Haas is the founder of Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America, and he is chairman of Haas F1 Team.