Haas 'panicked' after early struggles set in - Kevin Magnussen

Haas' Kevin Magnussen in action

Kevin Magnussen says Haas must come back stronger in Formula 1 next year after “a little bit of panic” set in when it struggled to understand its 2019 issues.

Haas set encouraging pre-season pace and led the midfield group in Australia, but thereafter it could not keep up with opponents in race trim, despite often setting quick qualifying times.

Haas, fifth last year, scored only 28 points all season as it slumped to ninth in the Constructors’ Championship.

It marked its worst campaign in its four-year history of competing in the championship.

“It became very clear in Bahrain that we had a problem, which was really strange because in winter testing and in the first race the car was really good,” said Magnussen.

“Even in Bahrain in qualifying we qualified… I can’t remember, sixth of something, up there. Then in the race it just completely fell apart.

“So from there on it was a little bit of panic in the team.

“We couldn’t really focus on… kind of find the real root of the problem. We were looking a lot at tyres and blaming the problem on tyres issues whereas in fact it was a little more simple.

“We just had aero issues, unstable aero and the whole platform just not being strong enough and consistent, stable enough.

“It’s a very frustrating problem, because we have [been] able to qualify well but in the race we just have not had any strength.

“That’s very frustrating as a driver, where you start in a position and then you’re just fighting to try to hang on to your position rather than attacking the guy in front.”

Magnussen’s 16th place in the Drivers’ Championship equalled the lowest classification of his Formula 1 career, but says he was still able to profit from Haas’ malaise.

“You always learn in any situation but especially when it’s difficult you learn different things,” explained Magnussen.

“You just have to approach your problems in a different way and I think that gives you strength and some experience that you wouldn’t necessarily have gotten if you were just cruising and driving in a perfect car.

“So in many ways it’s also been positive, both for me, as a driver, and for the team as well.”