Romain is definitely in a pivotal year and as of right now, not in an ideal position for his future prospects. With 2018 looking like another big shuffle in the driver/team market, I don’t think Haas will be able to let his talent shine enough to get him a top line seat.
His goal must be that Renault will call him back to the mothership and they keep progressing in pace to give him a stab at the sharp end of the field again. His time with Lotus and with team mate Kimi had some ups and downs but once he sorted his demons, he became a consistent and very fast driver.
Once the team started to struggle he found a place at Haas to hone his skills as both a team leader and development point man, he scored some valuable points for the team but then they caught a case of the troubles with the brakes that seemed to impact Romain more often and sapped a lot of potential pace and success as the season wore down.
A very likeable guy, he is also emotional, his highs and lows worn on his sleeve. Hopefully the team can get their head around the braking issues quickly (which I find unfathomable at this point no matter who’s to blame) and he can get on with the job of fighting for points. I think he has a lot of talent but confidence can vary on occasion although I don’t think he is too worried who his teammate is and will be a team player through and through to get the car better which is perfect for the new start up Haas.
With a likely move to Renault next year he will still push all the way through and help Haas improve and will get the results when the car is correct underneath him. His weakness I would say is racecraft and fighting in a pack. He is at his best out in clean air and there he shows great speed
“Our Kev” is a strange one to figure out. Inconsistency seems to be an issue. On a good day he is very good but he can also disappear and underachieve and I’m not sure what instigates this.
His Dad, Jan, came into F1 with some stout credentials but even his boss, the great Jackie Stewart, couldn’t extract that on track and in the end he found a great home in sports cars where perhaps the individual pressure is not as high and the team spirit a bit more enjoyable.
Could this be the same for Kevin? I was surprised that Palmer was retained at Renault but that’s not to say it was on pure form, we all know budgets have to be considered, but certainly Magnussen did not carry a lot of performance momentum as the season wound up, perhaps he was affected by the ongoing talks about the next year?
This is now and must be water under the bridge. So now, at Haas, I think it will suit his personality a little better, a little hug from Gunther every morning has to put him in a good place to perform. He does of course have a great team mate to be compared to and I certainly think he can match Romain but as I said before, the key will be to bring it every day in every session.
He must make this work or else he will be headed out of the series. If Romain is moving on to another team, Haas is the best place for Kevin to lay his hat for a while and rebuild his reputation. Haas is one of the only mid-pack teams that don’t require a budget from the driver so you simply have to drive to keep your job, a place any racing driver should relish. So no bellyaching and in the words of the brilliant late great David Loring -Drive fast ! Take chances!