The story behind Magnussen’s radio rant and apology
Kevin Magnussen apologised to Haas immediately after the Canadian Grand Prix for the radio message which led to a slap on the wrist from team boss Guenther Steiner.
In the closing stages of the race Magnussen, who was running two laps behind the leaders, said over radio: “This is the worst experience I have ever had, in any race car, ever.”
The Danish driver had started from the pit-lane after Haas was forced into an overnight rebuild of his car following a heavy crash in qualifying. Race engineer Gary Gannon was quick to remind Magnussen of this, before Steiner stepped in to tell him to stop complaining.
“None of this are happy about this pace,” Gannon said. “The guys stayed up all night to fix the car so let’s bring it home.”
Steiner then interjected: “For us it’s also not a nice experience, it’s enough now, that’s what it means. Enough means enough.”
At the end of the race as he returned to the pit-lane, Magnussen apologised to the team.
“Guys, I’m sorry, I know you’re just as frustrated as I am, sorry,” he said. “And the guys in the garage, big apologies, you done great, as always.”
Explaining why he felt the need to intervene, Steiner said: “I didn’t want an open discussion on the radio, I needed to stop it. I was pretty civilised. If I was to say without thinking, it wouldn’t have been this … We don’t need to do it in public and have all of you laugh at us.”
Steiner praised Magnussen for taking time out to apologise further after the race and said he could understand a driver getting frustrated in a race situation.
“It was good he came over. Everybody is frustrated, the guys work until 3 [o’clock] in the morning and you’re last and second last. It’s not something that motivates you and you don’t need any more discussions how bad it is.
“Everyone is full conscious and what I wanted to avoid is the guy gets beaten down more than he needs to be. After the race, I don’t know if he explained it, he didn’t mean to be critical, he just tried to explain a situation that this was a bad situation, but not blaming anybody.
“When you’re on the other side of the radio, you don’t know that. Maybe I could understand it, but the guys do not know, because they don’t know the full story. He apologised to everybody, which is something a grown up does. We move on, there’s no point to dwell on it.”
Magnussen’s frustrations were a by-product of the work the team conducted overnight — in taking the pit-lane start, the team was free to make any changes it wanted to the car. The team opted for an aggressive set-up to give him a chance of fighting back through the order.
“In the rebuild of Kevin’s car we tried a little bit of a different set-up, because we could, because of the pitlane start. Obviously that didn’t work.
“We know now, at least we learned that one. It wasn’t a conscious choice to make the car worse, the choice was to try to make it better, and it didn’t work.”
It was a miserable afternoon for Haas. Romain Grosjean was caught up in a first-corner collision between Alexander Albon and Carlos Sainz, which relegated him to the back of the field. He finished 14th.