Guenther Steiner believes Kevin Magnussen is ‘too calm’ sometimes, but won’t change him

Kevin Magnussen, Guenther Steiner, Haas, celebrate shock pole position. Brazil, November 2022. Credit: Alamy
Kevin Magnussen, Guenther Steiner, Haas, celebrate shock pole position. Brazil, November 2022. Credit: Alamy

Guenther Steiner believes that his driver Kevin Magnussen is “too calm” but said that is also one of his greatest strengths.

Despite on occasion telling his future team-mate to suck his balls, Magnussen is not known as one of the hot-headed members of the Formula 1 grid.

Even after being knocked out of a race in the opening lap and being left on the side of the road, the Dane managed to find the lighter side of the events and his team boss Steiner has been discussing this particular aspect of Magnussen’s personality.

When asked to select the Dane’s biggest strength, Steiner chose Magnussen’s ability to not overreact to a situation.

“First of all his talent,” Steiner told the Beyond the Grid podcast. “He can stay calm, sometimes for me too calm!

“He can take a lot of pressure off and it doesn’t affect him but sometimes I tell him ‘you need to be a little bit more [aggressive]’ but I’m not telling people how to be. I don’t do that.

“I have not seen him overreacting a lot, especially since he came back.

“I would say he’s a lot calmer [since he came back]. But I don’t think it’s only the time away, he’s got a family now. He’s two years older than when he left so that changes people as well.

“We all know Formula 1 is one of the sports where when you’re in it, you don’t really appreciate what you’ve got. When you’re out of it, you miss it, because you realise what you had.”

Steiner also discussed the circumstances of Magnussen’s comeback including the phone call between himself and owner Gene Haas that led to the return of one of their former drivers.

“I spoke with Gene when what happened happened [the sacking of Nikita Mazepin following the Russian invasion of Ukraine] and then we went through the list and he said ‘What do you think about Kevin?’

“I said, ‘Jean, I don’t know if he can get out of the contract or if he wants to get out of the contract. But sure, I can find out’ because I’ve got a good relationship at the time with Kevin and Romain [Grosjean].

“So I just called him up and I called [Gene Haas] back and said ‘Hey Gene, I think he can get out. I mean, he’s convinced he can get out’ and ‘Okay, let’s try to do it.’ And that’s it.

“Obviously, we have to get now to the nitty gritty, to the real world, to get him out. It was a great idea but when you have great ideas, it’s a lot of work behind [it].”

Magnussen did return and did so with a bang including a P5 in his first race before both his and the team’s first ever pole position at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Steiner described Magnussen’s pole as “the moments a team works for.”

“[We are] a team up and coming again,” the 57-year-old said. “We know that we can do better but always you need to prove that you can do it and when you do a pole that proves he can do it and gives you that additional energy to keep on going especially at the end of the season.

“Everyone’s tired, we are fighting for eighth position [in the Constructors’ Championship] and boom, Kevin puts it on pole. We had the pole and that’s not something everyone in Formula 1 has done.

“I think we did a good job, we didn’t get lucky with that. We were there at the right time when there was an opportunity to be bold and we took it.”

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