Kevin Magnussen has admitted that McLaren is expecting a low key start to the season this week in Australia, after a troubled pre-season testing foray.
The return of Honda in Formula 1 as engine partners for McLaren was one of the talking points of the new season. But the Japanese manufacturer arrived underprepared, with winter testing blighted by their troubles.
With McLaren having the least mileage of any team bar Force India(which ran their 2015 car only at the final test), Magnussen is aware that his squad wouldn’t have made substantial gains in a fortnight.
“I would say quite low,’’ the Dane was quoted in the official FIA press conference when asked about McLaren's expectations. ‘’We’re struggling obviously with reliability, making the car run for a long time. But this is a new start for McLaren, a new start in many ways and I think it’s going to take time.
“But I think it’s the right direction that the team has chosen to go and I think it has a bright future ahead. But I think it’s going to take time but I’m sure they’ll get there,’’ he added.
Despite a late call to replace Fernando Alonso for the season-opener and just 39 laps behind 2015 machinery, Magnussen feels he is ready for the challenge on a track he scored his maiden podium finish.
“I didn’t get as many laps as I thought I’d get but I would maximum get maximum 150 laps in a day if everything runs perfectly. I got nearly 40 laps and I think all of those were low fuel, so at least I’m pretty prepared for that,’’ the 22 year old said.
“I haven’t felt the car on high fuel yet so that will be interesting to see how that feels. But you know I’ve driven race cars before, it’s not a completely different thing. It's a different car but I think it should be OK.”