Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Test – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 10, 2022 Haas’ Kevin Magnussen during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
March 10, 2022
By Alan Baldwin
(Reuters) – Danish driver Kevin Magnussen said he had given up hope of a Formula One comeback until Haas team boss Guenther Steiner offered him the seat of sacked Russian Nikita Mazepin.
The 29-year-old told reporters he accepted straight away.
“I didn’t really think much about Formula 1,” said Magnussen, who raced sportscars in the US last year and was due to drive for Peugeot in the World Endurance Championship and compete at Le Mans with his father Jan.
“I somehow really accepted that Formula 1 is a closed chapter.”
Magnussen said he saw Haas cancel Mazepin’s contract but doesn’t think he has a chance of returning to the team he last rode for in 2020.
The billionaire father of Mazepin, now on the EU sanctions list following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, had taken over the team’s title sponsorship and Magnussen assumed Haas wanted a financially-funded replacement.
Her other driver is Ferrari-backed Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time champion Michael.
“I don’t bring much more to a team than just my driving skills, so I thought that was still not a possibility and then Günther called me and that was a big surprise,” Magnussen said at the Bahrain test ahead of the Race the season opener on March 20th.
“I was very excited when he called me and asked if I wanted to come back.
“I said yes right away. Then after that I kind of thought about it.
Magnussen said a rules revolution for 2022 opens up the possibility of better options.
The comeback will be his second in a career that began at McLaren in 2014 before faltering in 2015 after a year on the sidelines.
Emailed on his birthday that McLaren would be brushing him aside, he made the switch to Renault at short notice before the start of the 2016 season when Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado lost his funding.
Magnussen then moved to US company Haas for 2017.
He spoke of lost motivation as a backmarker in 2020 last year and didn’t want to return unless he had a chance to win, but those comments drew a slight shrug on Thursday.
“It’s one thing to say all that when you don’t have the opportunity to go into Formula 1,” he said. “When you actually have the opportunity to go back, it’s different.
“It’s also a way of coping. There’s no reason to look back. I’ve been asked “do you want to go back” quite a lot and I’ve had enough of all those questions. It’s easier to deal with when you say “No, I’m happy, I’m through”.
“But when you get that opportunity, you take it.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis)
https://www.oann.com/motor-racing-magnussen-thought-f1-was-a-closed-chapter-until-haas-called/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=motor-racing-magnussen-thought-f1-was-a-closed-chapter-until-haas-called Motorsport Magnussen thought F1 was a closed chapter until Haas called