Magnussen says ‘big winter’ lies ahead for Haas after propping up F1 constructors’ standings in 2023
Kevin Magnussen declared that the “only positive” about the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for himself and Haas was that it marked the end of the season and they can now look ahead to a fresh start next year.
While Haas started the campaign with three points finishes in the opening five races, they scored just once more in the 17 races thereafter and gradually slipped to the foot of the F1 standings.
Magnussen pinpointed the team’s lack of development relative to their rivals as the key reason for this slide after crossing the line 20th and last in the Yas Marina finale on Sunday night.
“I think the only positive today is that it was the last race and that we can close this year and look forward to next year,” he said after stepping out of the VF-23.
The Danish driver continued: “It’s not been a good year for us. We’ve not developed at the rate we should have, or we haven’t developed at all.
“I think we started the year in an okay position, but we lost out to the competition in the development race. It’s a big winter for us catching up, but I believe we can do it.”
Magnussen’s team mate, Nico Hulkenberg, had managed to qualify inside the top 10 for the final race of the season but, as has been the case many times in 2023, the squad’s pace disappeared in race-trim as the German slumped to 15th.
Asked if there were any positives to take from the race, Hulkenberg said: “The positive for me is how I’ve felt during this year, my feeling, my hunger to drive and to be back in F1, to be in the competition.
“That’s been really fun and good despite the difficulties on the sporting side and the difficult Sundays. I’m still enjoying it very much and still hungry for more, so that’s very positive news.
“Otherwise it’s the story of the season, we just don’t have enough pace. I think [tyre] deg probably was not the problem today, just pace, we couldn’t keep up with the faster cars.”
Echoing Magnussen’s earlier comments, he signed off: “It’s just one more time, but we put that one to bed now and hopefully have some better tools next year.”
Haas ended the season on 12 points, with nearest rivals Alfa Romeo scoring 16 points, Alpha Tauri ending up on 25 points and Williams winning the race for seventh position with 28 points.