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Haas can avoid "big negative spiral" like Williams, McLaren

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Haas can avoid "big negative spiral" like Williams, McLaren
By:
Jan 27, 2020, 10:37 AM

Haas Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen believes his team can bounce back from its poor 2019 showing and avoid the kind of "big negative spiral" that occurred at former powerhouses McLaren and Williams.

Though Magnussen's sole F1 podium so far came with McLaren in Australia in 2014, this owed much to engine supplier Mercedes' initial dominance in the hybrid era - and the Woking-based team would only return to the rostrum five years later, with the intervening seasons proving very tough.

And while McLaren now seems on the way up, its fellow former top F1 outfit Williams has slumped to the very bottom of grand prix racing's pecking order, scoring just a handful of points across the past two seasons.

Heading into 2019, F1's newest team Haas had looked poised to fight at the front of the midfield, but its season unravelled dramatically and it ended up taking the penultimate spot in the constructors' championship, finishing closer to Williams' points tally than eight-placed Alfa Romeo's.

But though Magnussen accepts it's been "a difficult, difficult time", he stresses that 2019 marked "the first time that the team has gone backwards" and believes it shouldn't lose sight of its previous accomplishments since its 2016 debut.

"The first three years we took big steps forward," Magnussen told Motorsport.com. "Maybe it doesn't look so big, but actually going from P8 in the constructors to P5 in three years is pretty good.

"Like Toro Rosso, for example, have never finished in the top five. Never. They've won a race. They've got the podium a few times, and they've never been in the top five. [Haas'] third year, top five. So that's bloody impressive. And nobody seems to notice this.

"Generally it's just been such as pleasure, you know, getting to a team that was on the rise rather than on the fall. It's just a much more positive experience - growing, feeling the growth and the improvements and the excitement that all of this is happening.

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"So then this year, we've taken a step back and you get that sense of the same feeling happening, people are starting to doubt themselves. But I think there's no reason to.

"It's hard to expect to only go forward all the time. As long as we don't get into this big negative spiral that some of the big teams have been [in], like McLaren, and Williams, where they've completely lost it and just spent many years going backwards - I don't think that's going to happen here.

"And that's part of that's one of the good things about being such a small and young team. We think we can turn the situation quicker and just get back on track. I'm very positive we can do that."

Magnussen had joined Haas from Renault back in 2017, and has been retained alongside Romain Grosjean - who has been part of the team's roster since the start - for the upcoming season.

Like his teammate, Grosjean believes Haas can take its disappointing season in its stride, as long as it's honest about its shortcomings.

He said: "We all need to be frank with ourselves and say: 'Look, what can we do better? where can we improve?' [What] was the area [that was] not the best - the drivers, engineers, management, communications, kitchen? Everyone in the team needs to look at themselves honestly and see what we can do better.

"If we can all do that, we can improve. We've learned so much this year, we have so much more data, ways of looking at things and I think it's going to be positive."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Haas F1 Team
Author Valentin Khorounzhiy