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Kevin Magnussen: 2017 F1 cars to ease overdriving issues

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Haas racer Kevin Magnussen believes that the new-for-2017 Formula 1 cars will ease his overdriving issues.

In a bid to make cars several seconds per lap quicker and improve F1’s on-track spectacle, 2017 heralds the introduction of revised technical regulations.

Magnussen has joined up with Haas F1 Team for 2017 after leaving Renault, and thinks that the new-style cars will suit him better.

“I’m a driver that if I have a problem, it’s most of the time because I’m overdriving. I naturally tend to overdrive the car,” Magnussen said.

“These new cars will probably suit that than less downforce. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun to drive.

“If our expectations are true, then they’re going to be the fastest Formula 1 cars ever probably. That would be exciting.”

With the cars expected to be more physical to drive, Magnussen said he has put in extra work over the winter break to build up his strength.

“I’ve definitely stepped it up over the winter. This winter it’s been mostly about training,” Magnussen said.

“I’ve not traveled anywhere, on occasion I’ve stayed at home to train with my fitness trainer in Denmark.

“That’s because we don’t really know how fast these cars are going to be and how physically demanding they’re going to be. You just have to prepare as best you can.

“We’ve been working more on strength, which can make you a bit heavier. It hasn’t made me so much heavier. I’ve gained a bit of muscle weight, but not much.”

Hartley happy with ‘big progression’ on first day with Toro Rosso

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With 69 laps completed (28 in free practice one and 41 in free practice two) and respectable lap times in both sessions, Brendon Hartley quickly acclimated to a modern day Formula 1 chassis in his first run with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The Porsche factory driver has been drafted into the team following a convoluted series of musical chairs that sees Daniil Kvyat back after a two-race absence, Carlos Sainz Jr. now at Renault and Pierre Gasly racing at the Super Formula season finale in Suzuka.

Over the time in the car today, Hartley experienced changeable conditions in FP1 before a more normal FP2, and discovered the new F1 cockpit after a day learning in the garage yesterday.

“A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy,” the New Zealander reflected at day’s end.

“I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.

“The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener! Another challenge are the tires, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

“All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow.”

His best lap was 1.1 seconds up on Friday driver Sean Gelael, the Indonesian Formula 2 driver, in FP1 (1:39.267 to 1:40.406, good enough for 14th) and 1.1 seconds off the returning Kvyat in FP2 (1:37.987 to 1:36.761, good enough for 17th). Interestingly, the Gelael/Hartley combination in FP1 marked the second time in three races that Toro Rosso had a pair of drivers in its cars without a single Grand Prix start between them – Gasly’s debut at Malaysia was the other, when he and Gelael were in in FP1.

Coming into Friday’s running, Hartley said he was more ready for this opportunity now than he had been as a teenager. He admitted he’d called Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in the wake of Porsche’s LMP1 withdrawal news earlier this year to say he was game for any chance that might come.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was back then, basically. I wasn’t ready at 18 years old. I like to think I’m ready now,” he said.

“I haven’t driven a single-seater since 2012, but I like to think that Porsche LMP1 has hopefully prepared me well.”

As for the rest of his weekend, it’s been made more complicated by Hartley being assessed a 25-spot grid penalty, even though Hartley had done nothing to accrue the penalties.

The roundabout sequence of driver changes at Toro Rosso saw Gasly replace Kvyat, Kvyat replace Sainz, and now Hartley replace Gasly, as is outlined by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton below.