Boullier: Magnussen dealing with “rookie syndrome”

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Eric Boullier has hit back at comments suggesting that McLaren’s progress is 2014 is being hindered by rookie driver Kevin Magnussen, claiming that the Dane’s recent struggles are very normal for a young driver.

Magnussen’s debut race in F1 was one to remember, as he finished the Australian Grand Prix in second place behind Nico Rosberg. However, since then, both the driver and the team has failed to live up to the lofty expectations, with Magnussen scoring just three points in the last five races.

“I don’t think it is more challenging to have a rookie driver rather than two experienced drivers, let’s say,” Boullier explained during a phone-in. “When you have somebody more experienced like Jenson you get more details, and you get to dig through more problems to find solutions.

“Kevin is facing the rookie syndrome: they are all coming from single-make series. Where they struggle most is to understand that the cars they have [must be] developed to give you certain results.

“If you don’t have the best car you can’t fight for the win.”

Magnussen won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship last season with relative ease, but, as Boullier explained, he might now be struggling to get to grips with a car that isn’t good enough to beat the rest of the field.

However, McLaren’s racing director said that he was very pleased with Magnussen’s work and progress so far this season.

“He is settling in well, he is very consistent, and his feedback is good enough to drive the engineering team around him to make the car faster, so he is doing very well for a rookie,” he said.

Magnussen will be hoping to improve upon his 10th place finish in Monaco at the next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Hinch boldly “goes” where many drivers have gone before

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One of the most common questions racing drivers face is “What happens if you have to use the bathroom when you’re driving?”

And the most common answer is “You just go.” While admittedly a little disgusting, it is nonetheless a problem that occasionally surfaces, and an innumerable amount of drivers have done so in their careers.

However, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe apparently had never found himself in such a predicament in his career. That is, until Sunday in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

While under the first red flag for rain, Hinchcliffe started to receive “nature’s call.” Unable to get out of the car to use a restroom – drivers had not been permitted to get out of their cars – Hinchcliffe was forced to wait and hold it.

But when the cars briefly took to the track again prior to a second red flag, it became too much to handle, and Hinch was forced to “relieve himself” while circulating under caution.

“I always maintained that I knew at some point in my career it would happen,” he quipped to NBCSN’s Kevin Lee.”

He added, “I was sitting there under that first red (flag), just begging to get three minutes. That’s all you need, (steering wheel off to wheel on). And when we got going again, my legs were shaking, I had to go so bad. I’m like ‘I can’t drive a race car like this.’ So under caution, it took me a full lap, it was one of the least comfortable experiences of my entire life, but I can officially say I’ve joined the likes of Will Power, Dario Franchitti, and other greats that have peed themselves in their suit.”

Social media reaction added to the moment’s hilarity, with SPM and teammate Robert Wickens weighing in.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal also chimed in, coming to Hinchcliffe’s defense.

Hinchcliffe, fully refreshed, will restart the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in fifth when racing resumes on Monday.