SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 10: Kevin Magnussen of Denmark and Renault Sport F1 in the Paddock during previews for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 10, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Kevin Magnussen joins the HaasF1 team this season to form the other half of American team’s driver lineup, with the 24-year-old joining Romain Grosjean after spending 2016 at Renault Sport. Magnussen comes to Haas F1 Team with 40 Formula One starts and a best finish of second, earned in his debut race at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Here he speaks about the upcoming test at the Barcelona Circuit in Spain, where he will be the first one to try o9ut the team’s new contender, his fitness regime and expectations for the new season…

How did you spend your offseason?
Mainly spending time with friends and family but, obviously, the big focus this offseason was training. It’s actually been really nice. I haven’t traveled anywhere. I’ve stayed in Denmark and been training every day. My full focus has been on my fitness. It’s been really nice getting into a good rhythm.

With the expectation that this new generation car is going to be dramatically faster than the previous car, did you adjust your fitness regimen to compensate for the higher level of g-forces you’re likely to encounter?
It’s a bit difficult as we don’t really know 100 percent how fast these cars will be, but the expectation is that they will be much faster than the previous generation of car. The best thing is to just prepare as well as you can and if anything, overdo it. There’s no point risking not being fit enough or strong enough, so training has been much harder this offseason. We’ll see how challenging the cars are when we get to Barcelona. We can adjust the training again from there.

Did you do more weight training? If so, what areas did you focus on – neck, shoulders, back, arms?
It’s been more strength training. Before you were designing your training program to not gain any weight, now we’ve relaxed that a little bit and we’re able to train harder with more strength-focused training rather than just long cardio sessions.

What are your expectations for the test?
Hopefully, to get a lot of miles. First of all, I’m just massively looking forward to getting back in the car. It’s been a long winter. You miss driving, even after a couple of weeks out. It’ll be nice just to get back in and get some laps, to get the feeling back and enjoy the car. Then, hopefully, I’ll get lots of running without too many interruptions so we can learn about the car and get as much data as possible.

You spent two years with McLaren and a year with Renault. Each time, you had to develop a rapport with the team. How do you work to find the same level of comfort with your new employer, Haas F1 Team?
I’ve been fairly lucky to have been in two teams where people have been very nice. It’s been easy, socially, to get along with everyone and feel part of the team. Everyone I’ve worked with in both teams, and at Haas, have been really nice people. I don’t know if that’s a general thing inside of Formula One, but it’s been great fun getting to know all these people. It’s been great to have experience from three great teams.

How eager are you to get to Barcelona and get acclimated to a new car and a new team?
It’s pretty exciting for me now. I’m with a new team that I’m looking forward to starting to work with. I feel excited about these new cars. Everyone is expecting them to be much faster and it looks like it will be a faster car than the previous generation, and perhaps even the fastest car we’ve ever seen in Formula One. That’s very exciting for me as a driver. Obviously, I’m just hoping we’ll have a very strong season together. The team did really well last year. They delivered a really strong season and this year we’ll try to make use of that experience gained by the team. I have a feeling that everyone on the team feels more prepared and ready for the season than at this point last year.

What was your first impression of Haas F1 Team when it showed up for last year’s preseason test at Barcelona?
When we saw that car in Barcelona, it just looked very nice. You can look at a car and you can see whether it’s well developed or underdeveloped, and it looked well developed. We saw it and thought, ‘OK, that’s quite impressive that they managed to get to that point so quickly.’ And then , obviously, as the races went on, the first trace, the second race with P6 and P5, it was very impressive. To actually improve on that this year is going to be a real challenge. It’s not going to be something that’s just a given. We really need to work hard to achieve that level of performance.

Kevin will be in the car on:

  • Monday, Feb. 27
  • Tuesday, Feb. 28
  • Tuesday, March 7
  • Thursday, March 9