Kevin Magnussen replaces Mazepin in multi‑year F1 switch
Kevin Magnussen will make a shock return to the Formula 1 grid in 2022 as he replaces Nikita Mazepin in the second Haas F1 car.
Mazepin had his contract cancelled along with the sponsorship deal with his father’s firm UralKali, which had funded his drive with Haas, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi had been expected to fill the seat, having stepped in to race for the team twice in 2020, with others suggesting Nico Hulkenberg or F2 champion Oscar Piastri would step in.
Few will have expected that Magnussen would return. He had been due to join the Peugeot LMH squad competing in the World Endurance Championship following a season racing in IMSA with Cadillac. But with that programme now on hold, with no news of a racing debut for the Peugeot 9X8, Magnussen has taken the offer of a return to F1. No word has come from Peugeot or Chip Ganassi, which he was continuing to race with in IMSA, but it appears he has been released from his sportscar commitments.
The deal, described by Haas as “multi-year” will see Magnussen partner Mick Schumacher in the VF-22, a car he will drive for the first time in this week’s pre-season test in Bahrain.
Magnussen has raced 119 times in F1, with 79 of those starts coming with Haas from 2017-2020. He finished ninth in the F1 Drivers Championship in 2018 and recorded highest finishes of fifth with the team.
He and former team-mate Romain Grosjean were let go by the team at the end of a disappointing 2020 season, to be replaced by Schumacher and Mazepin.
Speaking about the news Haas Team Principle Guenther Steiner said: “I’m delighted to welcome Kevin Magnussen back to 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 added: “I was obviously very surprised but equally very excited to receive the call from Haas F1 Team. 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.”