The Haas F1 team has brought back Kevin Magnussen to replace Nikita Mazepin who was released last week in the wake of the team’s decision to cut ties with Russian sponsor Uralkali.
Magnussen will drive the team’s VF-22 for the first time in the official pre-season test at the Bahrain International Circuit, starting Thursday – joining Mick Schumacher and test and reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi.
The test started Wednesday however the team’s equipment is late getting to the circuit.
The 29-year-old has 119 stars in F1 and raced for Haas from 2017-2020 after racing at McLaren and Renault. He was released by Haas at the end of 2020 along with driver Romain Grosjean. Schumacher and Mazepin became the primary drivers.
Last season in his time away from F1 Magnussen won in the IMSA SportsCar Championship with Chip Ganassi Racing and added four more podium finishes. The 2021 season also included a race debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans competing for High Class Racing in the LMP2 category alongside his father Jan Magnussen, and a one-off IndyCar start for Arrow McLaren SP at Road America.
“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 organizations.”
The decision to sever ties with its Russian sponsor began late last month when Russia invaded Ukraine. The reaction from the world was swift and F1 terminated its contract with promoters of the Russian Grand Prix removing that race from the schedule.
Uralkali is based in Russia and is owned in part by Dmitry Mazepin; Nikita Mazepin is his son. The team had pulled the sponsor livery from the cars last week during tire testing.
“I’m delighted to welcome Kevin Magnussen back to Haas F1 Team,” said 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.”
Magnussen scored his career-best ninth place finish in the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship with the Haas F1 Team in 2018 – scoring top 10 finishes in 11 out of 21 races in the VF-18 – including a pair of fifth place finishes in Bahrain and Austria.
“Kevin was a key component in our previous successes – not least when we both scored our best finishes in Formula 1 back in 2018,” Steiner said. “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.”
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