Rumor: Magnussen to replace Mazepin at Haas (2nd Update)

This rumor is upgraded to ‘fact’ today.

Haas F1 Team has signed Kevin Magnussen to drive alongside Mick Schumacher in the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship in a multi-year contract agreement with the Danish racer. 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.”

March 9, 2022 

Haas are exploring the possibility of former driver Kevin Magnussen replacing Mazepin ahead of the new season.

Magnussen, who raced for Haas for four seasons before the team let him go at the end of the 2020 campaign, has also previously driven for McLaren and Renault.

The Dane has been exploring different forms of racing since his departure from F1, competing in the IMSA SportsCar Championship and IndyCar Series, but now looks set to race alongside German Mick Schumacher when the season starts in Bahrain on March 20 – live on Sky Sports.

Magnussen has USA (with Ganassi in IMSA) and Le Mans contracts he will need to get out of for this rumor to be true.

March 9, 2022 

Rumor has it that Pietro Fittipaldi has told some folks that Nico Hulkenberg will partner Mick Schumacher at Haas F1 this year.

(GMM) However, Ralf Schumacher thinks it’s unlikely one popular former Formula 1 racer will be called up to replace axed Haas driver Nikita Mazepin in 2022.

Reports have suggested Schumacher’s fellow German Nico Hulkenberg, who is currently Aston Martin’s reserve, might return to the grid – especially as Gene Haas says the team is looking for a driver with “experience”.

Nico Hulkenberg, Reserve Driver, Aston Martin. Can he really get out of that contract?

“We just have to see what’s available,” said the American.

Schumacher, though – the uncle of confirmed 2022 Haas driver Mick – plays down 34-year-old Hulkenberg’s chances.

“Haas says they have several candidates, but it seems to me that some of them are not entirely relevant. For example, I can’t imagine Gunther Steiner picking up his old contacts with Nico Hulkenberg and bringing a second German into the team,” he said.

Haas reserve Pietro Fittipaldi will replace Russian Mazepin in the Bahrain test, but the 25-year-old Brazilian’s chances of securing the race seat is “unlikely” according to Schumacher.

“I can only wish that Mick gets a strong teammate this year with whom he will take the next step in his career. Hopefully it’s someone he can learn a lot with.

“It would be great if it was Oscar Piastri,” Ralf added.

Formula 2 driver Louis Deletraz has denied he is in talks with Haas, while Kevin Magnussen is said to be firmly under contract to Peugeot’s Le Mans team.

A top candidate for the seat is Ferrari-linked Formula E driver Antonio Giovinazzi, whose has the most recent experience of F1.

Schumacher, meanwhile, admits he feels sorry for Mazepin.

“He’s not to blame at all and I even feel sorry for him, although I am not his biggest supporter,” he said. “But you wouldn’t wish anything like this on any driver.”

Russian Nikolai Vetrov, best known for being Sergey Sirotkin’s manager, is scathing of Haas’ decision.

“No one wanted to join this team. Then they (Mazepin and Uralkali) went there for some reason, Haas took the money, and now they throw them away,” he told Match TV.

Finally, it appears that Haas will be ready for the start of Bahrain testing after all, following a flight delay from the UK to the Arab Kingdom.