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kevin magnussesn, haas f1 team
Kevin Magnussen on the grid

Kevin takes a look ahead to this weekend's visit to The Temple of Speed, AKA Monza, for the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.

Describe what’s required from your set-up to be competitive at Autodromo Nazionale Monza and how do you evolve that set-up from Friday’s practice session through to preparing for Sunday’s race?

“Monza is a track with very long straights, so you need a car with great straight-line performance. At the same time, you have some big breaking zones which then requires a car with stability on the brakes. You need to try and survive in the high-speed corners with the low-downforce and a well-balanced car. You try and get away with as little downforce as you can to go fast on the straights, that’s the tricky bit.”

The Italian Grand Prix is renowned for the passion of its fans with the famed ‘Tifosi’ adding to the atmosphere over the weekend – something that will unfortunately be missing on this visit. Where does the atmosphere of a race weekend hit you the most – is it on arrival each day, in and around the paddock, or on the grid before the race – and will Monza in particular feel even stranger without fans on-site?

“Monza will feel very different, there’s always a great atmosphere there. You would get very close to the fans entering the track and driving through the park from the hotel every morning. Of course, the atmosphere on Sunday, both before and after the race, we’ll all miss that this year. I always think that on a race weekend, the atmosphere is extra special just before the race itself. That’s usually when most of the spectators are in their seats, the grandstands are completely full. Usually during practice and so on they might be wandering around the circuit a bit more, but for the bit just before the race when everyone’s seated, you really feel that energy.”

What are your own memorable Monza moments from your career to-date?

“My first Italian Grand Prix there in Formula One back in 2014 was obviously very special. It’s such a great atmosphere, it really sets it aside from some other races – it’s special for any driver to experience.”

The additional races now confirmed for the end of the season include the return of the Turkish Grand Prix. It’s not a track you’ve personally raced at in Formula One, but do you have any experience there in the junior categories? If not, what do you know about the circuit and its challenges?

“I’ve never been to Turkey before. There are quite a few circuits this year that I’ll be driving for the first time – Mugello, Imola and Turkey, they’ll all be new to me. There’ll be a lot of learning done this year, which is something I’m looking forward to, it’s always a great challenge. I’ve obviously watched Formula One for years, so I’ve seen the races at Istanbul Park. I’m familiar with the layout of the circuit. It’s the rhythm of the track, you only get that when you drive it for yourself. The first time out it’s a steep learning curve but you get to a good level pretty quickly. That said, you never stop learning about a track, you’re always fine-tuning things.”

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