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Monaco Grand Prix 2024: Kevin Magnussen and Haas anticipating ‘phenomenal’ race

Ask five different Formula 1 drivers what their favorite circuit to drive is and you might get five different answers, but for Haas driver Kevin Magnussen the answer is clear.

Monaco.

“It’s the best track to drive on the calendar. It’s just amazing on these little narrow streets with walls all over the place. The feeling of driving an F1 car in Monaco is the best this year for me,” said Magnussen. said at the team media preview for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Magnussen will take part in the Monaco Grand Prix with 10 points on his superlicence, but is still subject to a one-race suspension. If two more penalty points are added, the driver will be forced to miss the race. His best result in Monaco was in his 2014 F1 rookie season with McLaren, when he finished 10th. He matched that performance three years later in his first season at Haas.

“We know there’s no overtaking in the race, so we feel like it’s a bit of a strange race now because we’ve had pretty good overtaking and pretty good racing, so there’s so little overtaking,” Magnussen said. added. A little suggestion to the F1 powers that be to keep Monaco on the calendar. “Maybe there could be more qualifying sessions and sprints to throw curveballs. The Monaco Grand Prix is ​​part of the Triple Crown and if you win it, it’s one of the special races and you’ll have to run around there. I hope it stays on the calendar because it’s very special.

“In other races, you’re doing laps to explore different techniques and you find your limits very quickly. It has also evolved a lot,” added the Danish driver.

Teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who has recently called Monaco home, is also looking forward to the challenge that Monaco will bring.

“I have lived in Monaco since 2015. This will be my 11th Monaco Grand Prix. I have watched the race many times since I was a child,” said Hulkenberg. “Monaco is iconic and everything is about tradition. Palaces, hotels and many other places still have a dress code when entering. It’s about the history and heritage there, and everyone accepts and respects it. , that’s what I like.

“Here in Monaco, the emphasis is always on qualifying. But it’s the same every weekend, you have to try to get a good feel of the car from scratch, and the difficult thing about qualifying in Monaco is that It’s about mastering the laps and putting all three sectors together,” Hulkenberg added. “This is a knife-edge ride, challenging every year and one of my favorite courses to drive. I’m looking forward to the ride and the challenge.”

Hulkenberg, who scored six of the team’s seven points this season, will head to Sauber in 2025 ahead of Sauber becoming an Audi works team for the 2026 F1 campaign.

Team principal Ayao Komatsu, who is making his Monaco Grand Prix debut as Haas manager, outlined how the team has worked to obtain the right downforce for this tricky circuit.

“I’m looking forward to Monaco. This year the team worked pretty well in the wind tunnel and came up with the downforce level needed for Monaco, which is different from previous years,” Komatsu said. “In terms of consistency with the car, we seem to have better consistency. And obviously in Monaco the driver needs a lot of confidence and he needs to trust the car. Still to be confirmed One thing that hasn’t been done is the balance of the car. I think that’s one of the problems with this year’s car, because in Monaco you can’t go fast with too much understeer. So we’ll try to get that balance right, but if we can do that, it could be a pretty interesting weekend.”

As Komatsu has stated, it’s all about qualifying in Monaco, given the layout of the circuit, and with fewer overtaking opportunities at the Monaco Grand Prix, points are often scored on Saturday, meaning the action has to start on Friday morning.

“You can’t tinker too much with the car set-up because Monaco qualifying is everything, driver confidence is everything, track time is everything. Just let it do as many laps as possible, and you’ll get better lap times than using tuning bits on the car,” Komatsu explained.

“The challenge is that you have to set up the car right before you go, if you want. If you send the car out and the car isn’t set up correctly, you can’t spend 15 minutes in the garage changing the car. That 15 minutes is a loss of track time,” Komatsu added. “Between runs, we need drivers to look at the data, see where they need to improve, and get them out as quickly as possible. What we need to do is to focus on giving the driver confidence once we start running.”

We’ll know in the next few days whether Magnussen and Hulkenberg have that confidence.

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