Kevin Magnussen did not get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car for more than a year, but when he returned to the Haas team, he quickly mastered the new generation and started the season well, earning points in the first two races.
You can’t say that about his partner, Mike Schumacher. In Bahrain, he finished 11th, but then he was prevented from performing better by a collision with Esteban Ocon at the start of the race, in which the Frenchman was clearly to blame, for which he received a fine.
But in the Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia, Mick did not start at all, because in qualifying he got into a serious accident and crashed the car – this time solely through his own fault. He was lucky that he was not injured, but the equipment was so badly damaged that Haas F1 chose not to repair it in a hurry, but to calmly prepare for the next stage in Australia.
It is also a matter of a limited reserve of spare parts: if there was a problem in the race, it could happen that in Melbourne Mike would simply have nothing to perform.
On the one hand, Schumacher is not considered a driver prone to accidents, but last year he smashed cars on weekends in Monaco, France, Hungary and Saudi Arabia. It was unpleasant, the team had to spend on repairing equipment, but then it at least did not claim points, and Mick was a newcomer, so some mistakes while driving a slow and inefficient car were quite understandable.
But now the situation has changed. The new VF-22 allows you to fight for points, and Magnussen has successfully proven this. While Schumacher broke his car, and the repair will cost the team very much. But there is a risk that the consequences of that mistake will not be limited to additional expenses.
On the one hand, all teams work on limited budgets, on the other hand, all of them, including Haas, have a special contingency reserve. However, the accident in Jeddah is too serious, and there is a risk that the repair of Mick’s car may force the American team to adjust the plan to upgrade equipment. It is not a fact that this will happen immediately, but it is possible that such a need will arise at later stages of the season.
As if anticipating such a situation, back in February Gunther Steiner, head of Haas F1, said: will be half a million less. And usually you can do a lot with this money. “
If an accident similar to the one in Jeddah happens again on Saturday, the risk of such consequences will increase sharply. So far this has not happened, but the team has already run out of points that Mick could potentially earn.
He will still have enough of such opportunities, but if only he would not miss them. This is important both for his own reputation and for the successful implementation of the team’s ambitious plans.
Of course, Mick understands this best of all, and the advice not to break the car anymore would sound too obvious. However, it is still worth repeating this once again, because he has already had one serious accident, and at the very beginning of the season, so important for him and for the team. And unlike last year, now the price of error is not only measured in money.