Haas have announced that their former driver, Kevin Magnussen, will be returning to the team to partner Mick Schumacher for 2022.
It was announced at the weekend that the Haas F1 Team would be parting ways with their title sponsor, Uralkali, and the driver that came with that deal, Nikita Mazepin, as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Given the sanctions that have been placed on Russia and the fact that Mazepin’s father, one of the owners of Uralkali, has close links with Russian president Vladimir Putin, that decision had been expected since Haas removed all sponsorship logos and colours for the final day of testing in February.
Since then though the question of who would race alongside Mick Schumacher for the season was the sport’s talking point. Haas had revealed that their reserve driver, Pietro Fittipaldi, would be called in for the second test but now he and Schumacher will be joined by the returning Magnussen in Bahrain.
After seven years in Formula 1, with the last four of those driving for Haas, Magnussen left the grid at the end of 2020 and since then has been racing in the American IMSA SportsCar championship with Chip Ganassi Racing. The Danish driver, along with his teammates, took five podiums including a win in the top class, the Daytona Prototype International, of the series last year.
Magnussen was set to continue in that series, having competed in the opening round at the 24 Hours of Daytona at the end of January, and was also going to race Le Mans Hypercars for Peugeot in the World Endurance Championship this year, but he has now been released from those contracts and signed a multi-year agreement with Haas.
“I was obviously very surprised but equally very excited to receive the call from Haas F1 Team,” Magnussen said. “I was looking in a different direction regarding my commitments for 2022 but the opportunity to return to compete in Formula 1, and with a team I know extremely well, was simply too appealing. I really have to say thank you to both Peugeot and Chip Ganassi Racing for releasing me promptly – both are great organisations.”
“Naturally, I also want to thank Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner for the chance to resume my Formula 1 career – I know just how competitive they both are and how keen they are to return to competing week in and week out. We’ve enjoyed a solid relationship and our positive association remained even when I left at the end of 2020. I’ve been briefed as much as possible on the development of the VF-22 and the potential in the package. There’s work to do but I’m excited to be a part of it. I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car in Bahrain.”
Haas Team Principal, Guenther Steiner, said that choosing Magnussen as Mazepin’s replacement was an easy decision and that his experience with Haas will give the team a benchmark for the performance of the new car.
“I’m delighted to welcome Kevin Magnussen back to Haas F1 Team,” commented Guenther Steiner, Team Principal of Haas F1 Team. “When looking for a driver who could bring value to the team, not to mention a wealth of Formula 1 experience, Kevin was a straightforward decision for us. Kevin’s immediate availability means we can tap into him as a resource for pre-season testing alongside both Mick Schumacher and Pietro Fittipaldi. Pietro’s going to be first in this week with half a day’s running at the test on Thursday – that’s a great opportunity for him, with Mick and Kevin doing the rest ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.”
“Kevin was a key component in our previous successes – not least when we both scored our best finishes in Formula 1 back in 2018. He continued to show last year that he’s an elite race car driver adding wins and podiums to his resume. As a veteran presence in both the garage and the engineering room, he’ll provide a solid benchmark for us with the on-going development of the VF-22. We’re all looking forward to welcoming Kevin back this week in Bahrain.”
The American team will miss the morning session of tomorrow’s first day of testing in Bahrain as their freight was delayed leaving the UK and lost them 48 hours of preparation time. Haas’ current plan is to have Fittipaldi out in the car on Thursday afternoon.