Magnussen, Renault exchange words…not nice words

IT may make for good headlines and tawdry stories but public disputes between teams and drivers are never really comfortable issues. Such is the case for Haas F1 driver Kevin Magnussen who joined the team for the 2017 campaign.

Magnussen had a tough year with Renault in 2016 and that led to Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul telling France’s Auto Hebdo that he was disappointed in the Dane’s performance and said that he was making excuses.

You can imagine that this didn’t go to well with Magnussen and to be fair, I’m not sure many drivers could make much of the car in 2016. The cars were designed for Mercedes engines yet fitted with Renault power units and the overall performance were was way off of the front runners. There’s little that Magnussen or his teammate, Jolyon Palmer, could do about that.

As such, I am unclear as to what expectations and measuring stick Abiteboul was using to determine 2016 as a disappointing year for Magnussen. So is Magnussen.

“I think it’s easy to say that someone is making excuses,” Magnussen told Craig Slater. “I’ve said what I think and I’ve made my opinion clear about certain things and he was unhappy about it.

“It’s fair enough, I can’t stop him from being unhappy with me, but it became a very public matter which I regret a little bit.

“I prefer things to be, if you are unhappy about something keep it between the person you are unhappy with, which he didn’t do.

“He didn’t keep it between me and him, he went public with it, and that’s his way of doing things. That’s fair enough with me.”

As Magnussen prepares for his first season with sophomore team Haas F1, he’s offered an insight to his current owners that is also a bit of a backhand to his previous employer:

“I’ve seen how resources isn’t everything, at all,” he said. “You can have so many people, if they don’t work together then it doesn’t mean anything. So completely going back to the core of a race team, which this is, it shows you how it should be really built up. You can’t just throw people at a project and expect it to deliver.

“It’s been interesting to see the difference.”

He’s right, of course, but when you have the resources and you manage to hire the right people, things come together swimmingly…just ask Mercedes. Renault have a lot of work to do and now that they have Nico Hulkenberg and Frederic Vaseur has left, perhaps there will be fewer people to disappoint Cyril.

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1