Haas Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen believes the VF20 has a “really good” baseline, but admits more performance needs to be extracted from the car.
The American team had their worst season since joining Formula 1 last year, struggling with a car that was completely unpredictable and difficult to understand.
The car performed so badly that in the latter stages of the season, they removed all of the upgrades introduced over the course of the year and reverted back to the original spec introduced at the first round in Australia.
With regulations remaining the same for 2020, it was always going to be difficult for Haas to design and build a car that is capable of fighting regularly in the top ten on outright pace, but despite only having a single point from three races – after a ninth place finish for Magnussen at the Hungarian Grand Prix – Magnussen believes the baseline performance of the car is good.
“I think we’ve learned a huge amount about the VF-20 in the first three races.” said the 27-year-old.
“It’s been good to get to know the car a bit more and I believe we’ve been successful in making progress in the direction we’ve tried to go with this year’s car in comparison to the VF-19.
“The car is much more drivable in the race, it’s very usable, but we still need to find more qualifying pace – and we’re working on that.
“Last year’s car, for example, you couldn’t push for very long, then you lost grip in the tires.
“The VF-20 seems to keep the tires in the working window for the whole stint – much better than last year’s car. I’d say that’s really the main difference.
“The characteristics of the car on a single lap is also better, but obviously we need more overall performance to be able to get more out of it in qualifying and the race.
“The baseline of the car is really good though.”
Although Magnussen believes the VF20 has potential to be a faster car, it seems he will have to extract everything he can from the current spec, with Team Principal, Guenther Steiner confirming that no big upgrades are planned for this year.
“We’ve had a lot of inconsistency, but I think we know pretty well where we’re at.” said Steiner.
“We’re not the fastest midfield car this year and we just need to deal with that one. We’re always trying to get the best out of the package.
“We’ve not planned any development for this year, so we have to focus on getting the best out of what we’ve got this season and look to next year to try to do something better for that season.”