Haas will once again compete with two talented drivers.
The Haas F1 team has had a rough few weeks, but now we finally have some good news to report. There has been much speculation about who would replace the infamous Nikita Mazepin, but Haas has now confirmed that Kevin Magnussen will be rejoining the team.
Team Haas now consists of Mick Schumacher and Magnussen. After running without sponsor stickers during the first testing session, it even unveiled its final livery this week.
Magnussen's first contract with Haas ended in December 2020. At the time, the Haas F1 team's decision seemed utterly ridiculous, considering Magnussen's performance. He is a consistent mid-field contender and even finished as high as fifth behind the wheel of a Haas. To date, his career-best is ninth place in the 2018 driver's championship.
Why did Haas give him the boot? It made little sense at the time, but then Haas unveiled its new sponsor, which turned out to be Uralkali. Uralkali's sponsorship was a package deal, however. Uralkali is a Russian fertilizer exporter owned by Uralchem. Dmitry Mazepin owns Uralchem. You can probably see where this is going.
Magnussen lost his seat to Nikita Mazepin, who basically bought his seat in Formula 1. And considering Mazepin came 21st out of 20 drivers in 2021, he doesn't have the raw talent that Magnussen does.
Thanks to sanctions, Haas had to drop Uralkali's support, which gave the team principal, Guenther Steiner, the perfect opportunity to get rid of Mazepin.
Many people still believe Mazepin lost his seat because he's Russian. That's not true. The FIA has not banned Russian or Belarusian drivers from the sport, but the Russian Grand Prix was canceled. Mazepin lost his seat because he's a terrible driver.
In any case, back to the good news. Magnussen is a veteran of the sport. He has 119 F1 career starts and scored a podium finish in his debut year in 2014. He was a paid driver for McLaren and Renault before joining Haas in 2017.
Following his departure, he kept busy with other racing formulas. He raced for Chip Ganassi Racing in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. He also ran in an Oreca 07 at Le Mans, which uses a version of the 3.5-liter found in the Acura NSX. Magnussen teamed up with his dad, and they finished in 29th place overall. That's a good result for Le Mans.
"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 ongoing development of the VF-22," said Guenther Steiner.