Home Somerset county Haas signs Kevin Magnussen to replace sacked driver Nikita Mazepin

Haas signs Kevin Magnussen to replace sacked driver Nikita Mazepin

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Kevin Magnussen has signed a multi-year contract with Haas to replace sacked driver Nikita Mazepin and admitted his surprise at being offered a return to Formula 1.

The 29-year-old returned to his former team, where he made 79 starts in four seasons, after a season out of the sport.

Magnussen got the call from Haas after he fired Russian driver Mazepin last week and called for peace over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early March.

Speaking of his comeback, Danish driver Magnussen said: “I was obviously very surprised but also very excited to get the call from Haas F1 Team.

“I was looking in a different direction regarding my commitments for 2022, but the opportunity to return to racing in Formula 1, and with a team that I know extremely well, was just too attractive.

“I really have to thank Peugeot and Chip Ganassi Racing for releasing me quickly – they are both great organisations. Naturally I also want to thank Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner for giving me the chance to resume my career in Formula 1. I know how competitive they both are and how much they want to get back to competing week after week.

“We had a strong relationship and our positive association remained even when I left at the end of 2020. I was informed as much as possible about the development of VF-22 and the potential of the package.

“There is work to be done, but I am delighted to be part of it. I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car in Bahrain. »

Magnussen, a veteran of 119 grid starts, will partner Mick Schumacher this season and join the German for testing this weekend in Bahrain.

“When we were looking for a driver who could bring value to the team, not to mention a wealth of Formula 1 experience, Kevin was an easy decision for us,” added Haas team principal Steiner.

“Kevin has been a key part of our previous successes, especially when we both achieved our best results in Formula 1 in 2018. He continued to show last year that he is an elite racing driver, adding victories and podiums to his CV.

“As a veteran present in both the garage and the engineering room, he will provide us with a solid reference in the continued development of the VF-22. We are all looking forward to welcoming Kevin this week to Bahrain.

Mazepin – whose father Dmitry is co-owner of former Haas title sponsor Uralkali and associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin – spoke out for the first time since being sacked earlier on Wednesday and did not rule out legal action against the American team. .

“It is good to keep all (legal) options open. There was no legal reason that could allow the team to terminate my contract,” he said.

“I haven’t received any hints or support or heard that this is the decision we made. I learned along with you.

“I lost my dream that I had been working on for 18 years. I never imagined that the situation of losing my drive would happen so soon.

“But I absolutely don’t see Formula 1 as a closed chapter. I will stay in racing condition and I will be ready to seize an opportunity if it arises.