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Haas Driver Magnussen Piling Up The Laps

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, March 1 2017

Kevin Magnussen was at the wheel for Haas F1 during testing at the Circuit de Barcelona in Spain on Tuesday. (Photo by Steven Tee/LAT Images)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Haas F1 Team newcomer Kevin Magnussen shattered the second-year, American-owned organization’s single-day test mileage total _ and lowered his best lap time _ during Day 2 of preseason testing Tuesday for the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Magnussen began hot-lapping in his No. 20 Haas VF-17 at 9 a.m. (local time) and ended the session nine hours later with 118 laps/341.313 miles/549.29 kilometers completed around the 2.892-mile/4.655-kilometer/16-turn layout in Spain. The result more than doubled Magnussen’s total from Monday when he ran 51 laps, and easily eclipsed Haas F1’s mileage total from any previous test at Barcelona. Prior to Tuesday, the most laps completed by Haas F1 Team during a single-day test at Catalunya was 105 on May 18, 2016.

In addition to logging the most laps among all drivers participating in the test, Magnussen remained fast. The second-generation driver logged the fourth-quickest time at 1 minute, 22.204-seconds on his 103rd lap shod on a set of Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires. On Monday, Magnussen posted his best lap time of 1:22.894-seconds on his 44th tour on a new set of Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tires.

Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, the 2007 F1 World Driving Champion, set fastest lap of the day at 1:20.960-seconds.

“A good day,” said Magnussen, a 24-year-old resident of Roskilde, Denmark. “I got the most laps of anyone, so that sums up our day pretty well, with lots of running. That’s what it’s all about here at winter testing. We want to put as many miles on the car as possible, to find all of these little problems that can creep up during the season, to catch them as early as possible. I’m very happy with the feeling I have in the car and in working with the team. It’s been good to get back in a car again.”

Magnussen began the morning session with a series of reconnaissance laps, first using the Orange hard tire before optioning between the White medium tire and the Yellow soft. Five laps of systems checks transitioned into outright running, first with White mediums and then on Yellow softs. Magnussen’s best time in the morning was 1:23.200-seconds on Yellow softs on his 36th/final lap, placing him fourth overall.

Haas F1 Team sampled nearly all of the available tires in Pirelli’s lineup with the Orange hard, White medium, Yellow soft and Red supersoft each getting a workout. Magnussen made the most of the day’s second half, knocking out 82 laps. In addition, the team practiced pit stops, bolting four new tires onto the VF-17 and sending Magnussen back on track. The Red supersofts provided the most grip, and Magnussen dutifully knocked down his quickest time in the final 30 minutes.

“We have learned a lot from this test and it’s been good so far,” Team Principal Guenther Steiner said.  “We hope it continues like this over the next two days and into next week, as well. Today we ran our full program. This morning we had a small hiccup, nothing big, and in the afternoon we ran our full program. What we missed in the morning we got in the afternoon. We learned a lot about the behavior of the car. We did setup changes. We know that we still need to work on the car to get the best out of it, but that’s why we do testing.”

As was the case last season, Haas F1 Team is a technical partner with Scuderia Ferrari, F1’s oldest and most glamorous organization. That arrangement with the factory in Maranello, Italy, includes the power unit, gearbox and mechanical components such as suspension and brake systems on the VF-17.

Lead driver Romain Grosjean of France will take over the Haas VF-17 Wednesday and Thursday to finish out the first week of testing. After a four-day break, teams will return to Barcelona for the second and final round of preseason testing March 7-10. Magnussen is scheduled to drive on March 7 and 9, with Grosjean behind the wheel on March 8 and 10. The season-opening Australian Grand Prix is set for March 26 in Melbourne, Australia. 

“Now with Romain, we’ll put in what we learned today and try to make the car go quicker,” Steiner said.  “It seems the car is very reliable. Ferrari has done a fantastic job with their engine package, gearbox, everything. It was very reliable today, no problems at all. Touch wood it stays like this for the rest of the test, but up to now we’re very satisfied.”

The VF-17 was built under a new set of technical regulations featuring an advanced aerodynamic package designed to create a higher level of downforce. A wider front wing, larger barge boards, a lower and wider rear wing and a diffuser that expands 50 millimeters (two inches) in height and width comprise the changes. Also featured are wider tires from Pirelli by 60 millimeters (2.4 inches) in the front and 80 millimeters (3.1 inches) in the rear, a 25-percent increase to bring the front tires to 305 millimeters (12 inches) and the rear tires to 405 millimeters (15.9 inches).

Led by Grosjean, the VF-16 carried Haas F1 Team to an eighth-place finish in the 2016 Constructor standings. Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico scored 29 points in their VF-16s during Haas F1 Team’s inaugural season, largest point haul by any new Formula One team during this millennium.

Businessman/racer Gene Haas, chairman of Haas F1 Team, also is the founder of Haas Automation, the organization’s title sponsor. Along with retired three-time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart, Haas also is co-owner of Kannapolis, N.C.-based Stewart-Haas Racing. That multiple championship-winning outfit opened the 2017 season Sunday at Daytona International Speedway with Kurt Busch’s victory in the Daytona 500, SHR’s first race with Ford Motor Company after a switch from Chevrolet Racing.

Haas’ globetrotting F1 organization _ the first American-owned team to compete in the series in 30 years _ made its debut in testing at Barcelona one year ago with a well-defined combination of racing and marketing objectives touting Haas Automation’s complete line of California-based vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers.

While colors from the original F1 car were carried over to the VF-17, the overall scheme is different. A dark gray makes up the majority of the livery, with tones of red, black, white and light gray.

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, March 1 2017
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