If you are a fan of Kevin Magnussen, then today’s announcement that he will return to Formula 1 after a two-year absence will bring you much joy. If you are a fan of Pietro Fittipaldi, or not a fan of Kevin’s sharp elbows, then you may not be experiencing much joy.
Haas F1 press Release:
Magnussen will drive the team’s VF-22 for the first time in the official pre-season test at Bahrain International Circuit, 10-12 March – joining Schumacher and test and reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi at the test.
Magnussen (29), a veteran of 119 career Formula 1 starts – with a podium finish on his debut in 2014, previously raced for Haas F1 Team between 2017-2020 having landed at the American-owned outfit after stints with McLaren and Renault. The Roskilde-born driver scored his career-high ninth place finish in the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship with 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. Magnussen accumulated 79 starts across his first tenure with the Kannapolis-based squad – his final race from that period coming at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December 2020.
Magnussen continued to prove his racing pedigree throughout 2021. A race winner in the IMSA SportsCar Championship with Chip Ganassi Racing, the Dane added four more podium finishes to his maiden campaign in the United States. 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’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.”
Steiner continued; “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.”
“I was obviously very surprised but equally very excited to receive the call from Haas F1 Team,” stated Magnussen. “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.
“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.”