Kevin Magnussen is expecting to be back at the full fitness level required for an F1 driver in another two months' time.
The Dane's suprise comeback to the sport was announced less than two weeks before the start of the 2022 season, when it was confirmed that he would replace the recently ousted Nikita Mazepin at Haas.
His performance at the Bahrain Grand Prix - his first Formula 1 race since the end of 2020 - impressed many, with a P5 finish ending the team's long points drought.
Another points result came in Saudi Arabia, but Magnussen found himself struggling physically in Jeddah due to problems with his neck.
Magnussen still getting back to F1 fitness
Given that his unexpected return came after one year away from Formula 1, Magnussen admits that it may still take him a little longer to be back to the fitness level required for a driver.
When asked when he anticipates this happening, Magnussen told the Beyond The Grid podcast: "I reckon probably another two months [from] now.
"[I've] had one month of being an F1 driver again and being fully into training again, living the F1 life where you train every day and and focus on your fitness.
"Not that I didn't train last year at all, but it was a lot less than when I was an F1 driver.
"I kind of just did the training that I needed to be fit for sports car driving and, coming from Formula 1 into sports cars, especially my neck was no problem because those cars are a lot slower than Formula 1 cars."
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Magnussen believes that fitness is not necessarily the most important thing for an F1 driver, but that it can still give an advantage.
"Always for racing drivers, you need to be fit. Fitness helps you, there's no question," he explained.
"It's not like, you can't be a good footballer if you're not fit. That just doesn't happen. As a racing driver, you can drive to a very good level and be absolutely unfit. That does happen.
"So it's kind of a weird sport like that, but fitness does give you an edge."
With his neck having posed the main physical concern since his return to Formula 1, Magnussen admits that he now wishes he had focused on it more during his 2021 training.
"In sports cars, as [in] any race car, it's still the neck. The neck is the point where you get tired the most," the Haas driver said.
"I just had this really strong neck from Formula 1, so I had a bit of a break from training last year, and I regret that now!"
Success still possible without full fitness
In terms of the edge that fitness can bring, Magnussen added: "It does make you better. It's just that, [in] this sport, you can do well and not be fit, but you shouldn't not be [fit]."
When asked if this had applied to his own success in the first two races of the 2022 season, Magnussen reiterated that he will soon be back to peak fitness level.
"That's the thing, but in a couple of months' time, I'll be fully fit," Mick Schumacher's teammate stated.
Despite missing out on points at the Australian Grand Prix, Magnussen's strong results in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have kept him at P9 in the Drivers' Championship standings.
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