Past results are no guarantee of future performance, but Haas' Kevin Magnussen is nevertheless confident of a strong showing in Jeddah this weekend after his strong race at the venue twelve months ago.
Magnussen had little to write home about after the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago, the Dane qualifying a lowly P17 while teammate Nico Hulkenberg made it into Q3.
It was more of the same on race day with a Magnussen finish in the think of F1's mid-field in P13.
As he heads to Jeddah – a very different venue compared to Sakhir, Magnussen will perhaps feel better inspired by his run to P9 with Haas in 2022 rather than by his most recent outing with the US outfit.
"Last year, Saudi Arabia was a strong weekend," he recalled. "Coming away from Bahrain with a fifth place and coming to Jeddah, expectations were high and the pace was good in the car.
"We got a bit unlucky with strategy – the safety car came out at a vulnerable time for us – but we still managed to score a few points and I hope we can be strong here again this year."
Friday's running will reveal how well adapted Haas' 2023 challenger is to Jeddah's fast-flowing layout. But last year, Magnussen realized the importance of having a strong confidence level to perform well at the venue.
"I think it’s a great circuit," he said. "Last year was my first time there and it’s a really fun and exciting track to drive.
"It’s a circuit where confidence with the car counts for a lot – you need to be confident and happy with the car and happy to push because it’s a pretty flat-out track.
"Some places you go to you find the groove very quickly and I felt that was the case in Jeddah last year.
"It’s one of those tracks that I really like and where there are a lot of consequences for going over the limit, and getting close to the limit is harder than going to other tracks with run-off."
Like most of his colleagues racing in F1's mid-field, Magnussen was only given a limited snapshot of his car's potential in Bahrain.
The Dane suggests waiting a few more races before assessing how Haas' VF-23 stacks up against its competitors.
"I think it will take a few races, it’s not like if we have two good races or two bad races that we can conclude much," he said.
"We’ll get a rough idea of where we stack-up but I expect the midfield to be that close that it could easily change on other tracks later on in the year.
"There’s also a lot of development going on in all teams and good or bad, we just need to stay focused."
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