Less than a month after saying he’d “been there, done that” when it comes to F1, Kevin Magnussen is a surprising inclusion on Haas’ short list to replace Nikita Mazepin.
Magnussen raced for Haas in Formula 1 for four seasons, scoring 96 points, but with only one of those coming in his final season both the drivers and Haas opted to call it quits.
Left without a drive, Magnussen turned his attention to endurance racing and insisted last month that he was not looking to make a comeback as F1 “wasn’t rewarding enough”.
The 29-year-old told Racer: “Whatever I do, I won’t go into anything if I know I can’t win, ever again.
“I was there [in F1] for seven years and I enjoyed it most of the time. But sporting-wise, as an athlete, it wasn’t rewarding enough to be in the position I was in.”
But with Formula 1 introducing all-new cars this season, the sport is expecting a bit of a shake-up in order, a shake-up that could be enough to persuade Magnussen to at least listen to Haas’ offer.
According to Danish publication Ekstra Bladet, Haas are considering three alternatives for the axed Mazepin, and ‘and Kevin Magnussen is well placed in the field.
‘The team owner has always had a good eye for the Dane, as has team manager Guenther Steiner, Magnussen knows the team from the inside and will be a good match with Mick Schumacher.’
I did not see this one coming, did not believe it the first time around but something is going on at Haas. https://t.co/I4TQwHhzGD
— Jonas Hüttel (@JonasHut) March 8, 2022
But even if Magnussen does change his mind about Formula 1, the Dane has various other commitments that clash with the Formula 1 calendar.
The first of those is his next race with Chip Ganassi Racing in the IMSA SportsCar Championship with the 12 Hours of Sebring taking place on the same weekend as Formula 1’s season-opener in Bahrain.
As such Ekstra Bladet adds that Antonio Giovinazzi, Ferrari’s reserve driver, is likely to be Haas’ first choice.
The Italian was racing in Formula 1 as recently as last season, dropped by Alfa Romeo at the end of the year in favour of an all-new line up.
Giovinazzi turned to Formula E but is said to have an exit clause in Dragon contract should a Formula 1 race seat become available.
Super sub Nico Hulkenberg is reportedly the third candidate on Haas’ list but the 34-year-old has not raced in Formula 1 since 2020 when he contested three grands prix with Racing Point.
He has, however, been working with Aston Martin in their simulator, helping to develop this year’s all-new car.
Haas will run test driver Pietro Fittipaldi alongside Schumacher at this week’s Bahrain test but team owner Gene Haas has all but ruled out putting the Brazilian in the car for the season.
“We’re in the process of looking at several candidates,” he told The Associated Press.
“We’ll see who is available and what we have to deal with, but we’ll have somebody by Wednesday.
“Pietro will definitely be in it, that’s what he’s for, he’s the test driver.
“I think we’d obviously like to get someone with a bit more actual experience. We just have to see what’s available.”
Haas have been left searching for a new driver after parting ways with Mazepin on Saturday, the Russian driver dropped from the team along with the Uralkali sponsorship in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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