Kevin Magnussen is managing his Formula One rookie syndrome well

F1 rookie Kevin Magnussen shares a chat with a McLaren engineer earlier this season. F1 rookie Kevin Magnussen shares a chat with a McLaren engineer earlier this season.

Thursday, June 5, 2014
6:00 AM

The rookie problem in Formula One – you would have thought that was about becoming one, given 2013 GP2 champion Fabio Leimer revealed this week it would have cost him almost £17m to buy a seat at Sauber for this season.

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"We’ve been friends a long time & as friends we have our ups & downs. Today we spoke & we’re cool, still friends #noproblem "

Quote of the week: Lewis Hamilton tweets his feelings on team-mate Nico Rosberg

It makes you wonder what the point is, if the champion of F1’s feeder series couldn’t afford a race seat for the step up. His offer of £9m wasn’t quite enough.

No, it’s not that problem – although that is a problem.

It’s more of the problem articulated by McLaren’s Eric Boullier. Apparently Kevin Magnussen is struggling with it – not that he’s appeared too badly off over his opening six races in the formula.

“Kevin is facing the rookie syndrome in that they all come from single-make series, and they struggle to understand that the cars they are working to develop give them some kind of result – and if you don’t have the best car, you can’t fight for the win,” Boullier told Autosport. “This is where they most struggle. The rest is fine. He’s settling in, very consistent, and his feedback is good enough to drive the engineering group around him to make the car faster. He’s doing very well for a rookie.”

Good week, bad week

Pole position – Forza Rossa: The Romanian group are being lined-up to join the F1 grid within the next two years, under Colin Kolles’ stewardship and alongside Haas as part of the F1’s future circus.

Stalling – Lotus: After a season of struggle so far, Lotus have sounded a warning Montreal will be another tough weekend for those from Enstone.

So all in all, rookie syndrome doesn’t seem to be too bad. Certainly Magnussen is the one faring best. With only three rookies on the grid this season, Marcus Ericsson has had a tall order dealing with an out of sorts Caterham.

And while Toro Rosso seem to have more than their fair share of reliability problems, Daniil Kvyat has impressed – especially at Monaco, given it was his first time around the streets.

Best rookie is a prize worth taking this season – but as many people have been left to prove, it doesn’t ease the difficulty of keeping yourself in the game. Even once a driver has kicked off the lingering effects of rookie syndrome.

Sometimes a circuit just suits a driver – so step forward Lewis Hamilton and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

It feels like there can only be one winner in Montreal this weekend. Hamilton loves the track and has won this grand prix twice in the last four seasons. For the driver, that must generate a huge amount of confidence. Yet from the outside, it looks like that’s a lot of pressure too.

Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg vowed he needed to change the championship momentum back into his favour ahead of Monaco.

He achieved that. But beat Lewis in Montreal, and the German’s psychological push would start to become a hard one for Hamilton to ignore. It should be a cracking race.

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