Magnussen back in F1 with the Haas team that fired him in 2020

Kevin Magnussen will make a surprise return to Formula 1 this season with the same team that fired him a year ago.

The Danish driver was rehired on Wednesday by Haas F1 to replace Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, who was fired this weekend following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Magnussen has signed a multi-year contract and will drive the new Haas car for the first time on Friday at F1 testing in Bahrain. Reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will test the car on Thursday afternoon.

“I was obviously very surprised but also very excited to get the call from Haas F1 Team,” said Magnussen. “I was looking in a different direction regarding my commitments for 2022, but the opportunity to come back to compete in Formula 1, and with a team that I know extremely well, was just too attractive.

The 29-year-old was released from contracts with Peugeot and Chip Ganassi Racing to return to Haas. Magnussen drove for Ganassi in IMSA sports cars last season and started this year as an endurance driver in the Rolex 24s at Daytona. He was due to be Ganassi’s endurance driver next week at the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Magnussen was also expected to drive for Peugeot when his World Endurance Championship team started competing. He thanked Peugeot and Ganassi, as well as Haas F1 owner Gene Haas and team principal Guenther Steiner “for the chance to resume my Formula 1 career”.

“I know how competitive they both are and how eager they are to get back to competing week after week,” Magnussen said. “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’s work to be done but I’m delighted to be part of it. I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car in Bahrain.”

Magnussen has 119 career starts in F1 with McLaren, Renault and then Haas from 2017 to 2020. Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were both let go at the end of 2020 when Haas chose a throwaway season rather than spending money ahead of the 2022 launch of a new car.

Magnussen and Grosjean were replaced by rookies Mazepin and Mick Schumacher, and Haas fell to the worst team on the grid every week.

Gene Haas expects performance to be improved in 2021 with a new car and an upgraded engine package, and he told The Associated Press on Sunday he wanted an experienced driver alongside Schumacher. The 22-year-old is the son of seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher and considered a future global superstar.

Magnussen spent the last year racing for Ganassi in IMSA, where he won once and scored four podiums in his first season in the United States. He also made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut as a team-mate to his father, Jan Magnussen, and he ran an IndyCar race for McLaren.

“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,” Steiner said. “Kevin’s immediate availability means we can tap into him as a pre-season testing resource alongside Mick Schumacher and Pietro Fittipaldi.

“Kevin has been a key part of our previous successes. He continued to show last year that he is an elite racing driver, adding wins and podiums to his resume. both in the garage and in the engineering room, it will provide a solid reference for us.

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