Kevin Magnussen has expressed optimism that he and Haas can contend for points when Formula 1 returns to Saudi Arabia this weekend.
Magnussen and Haas endured a low-key start to the season in Bahrain as he raced to 13th position after being eliminated from the first knockout session in qualifying.
Magnussen made Q3 in Jeddah last season – his first appearance at the track after missing the 2021 season – and went on to score ninth place in the race.
“Last year, Saudi Arabia was a strong weekend,” said Magnussen.
“Coming away from Bahrain with a fifth place and coming to Jeddah, expectations were high and the pace was good in the car.
“We got a bit unlucky with strategy – the safety car came out at a vulnerable time for us – but we still managed to score a few points and I hope we can be strong here again this year.
“I think it’s a great circuit. Last year was my first time there and it’s a really fun and exciting track to drive.
“It’s a circuit where confidence with the car counts for a lot – you need to be confident and happy with the car and happy to push because it’s a pretty flat-out track.
“Some places you go to you find the groove very quickly and I felt that was the case in Jeddah last year. It’s one of those tracks that I really like and where there are a lot of consequences for going over the limit, and getting close to the limit is harder than going to other tracks with run-off.”
Magnussen nonetheless believes that Haas will have to wait for several more grands prix before being able to evaluate the full potential of the VF-23.
“I think it will take a few races, it’s not like if we have two good races or two bad races that we can conclude much,” he said.
“We’ll get a rough idea of where we stack-up but I expect the midfield to be that close that it could easily change on other tracks later on in the year. There’s also a lot of development going on in all teams and good or bad, we just need to stay focused.”
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