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Kevin Magnussen Q&A: McLaren improving in small steps

09 May 2014

Like most teams, McLaren arrive in Spain this weekend with their most comprehensive update package of 2014 to date. Will it be enough to get Kevin Magnussen back on the podium? Unlikely, admits the Dane, but after positive first impressions in Friday practice, he is confident that it is pushing the team in the right direction…

Q: Kevin, there has been so much hope that it would click with McLaren this year. What has happened in the last two weeks that might support that belief?

Kevin Magnussen: Of course we are not happy, but at the same time we have to keep our spirits up. The whole team is pushing really hard, but it will take time to get where we would like to be. The only thing that gets you there faster is hard work - and that is exactly what we all do. So let’s see how it goes here. I don’t expect that we will change the world this weekend. Of course big steps would be nice, but small steps are realistic.

Q: How big are the changes on the McLaren cars this weekend?

KM: As I just said, it will not change the world this weekend. We are bringing some updates, but that we do at every race. Hopefully what we have here is a step in the right direction.

Q: What would make you and the team make happy at the end of the weekend?

KM: As long as we see that we are moving forward - that’s what would make us leave Barcelona satisfied. What we are looking at is an improvement every single weekend.

Q: So what was your impression after the two runs today? Is the curve going upwards?

KM: Yep, it felt much better - and nourishes the hope of a reasonably good weekend.

Q: Is that the step forward that you were just speaking of?

KM: We indeed made a small step forward - a small step. We are not close to the frontrunners yet, but we are working on it.

Q: So where would you see yourself in the pecking order right now?

KM: I would probably say that we are at the front of the middle pack.

Q: Today the gap between Mercedes and McLaren was over two seconds…

KM: As I just said, we are improving in small steps and that is positive. A standstill would be difficult to swallow. The car today felt pretty good - unfortunately the lap time is not where we would like it to be. We are going into qualifying and race with cautious expectations. Of course playing catch-up is never easy as those you want to catch are also constantly improving, so we have to raise our development speed compared to theirs - and that will not be an easy one.

Q: What about the Barcelona track? Do you like it?

KM: Yes, I like it - and it’s the first time this season that we come to a track that I know. That gives a bit of an extra comfy feeling. I’ve been racing here many times and have pretty good memories.

Q: Tyre degradation seems to also be an issue here - after China. Will that make it extra difficult for a team playing catch-up?

KM: Well, tyre degradation is always a topic - at some races less than at others - and probably here a bit more again. But I definitely don’t see tyre degradation as our major problem.

Q: How about your personal wellbeing: after that highflying debut in Melbourne was it a rather bumpy landing?

KM: We knew that Melbourne would probably be a one-off - at least for now - and yes, the last three races have been frustrating - but you have to accept where you are and work your way out from there. And that is what we all, the whole team, will do.