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Kevin Magnussen Returns to F1 as Haas Sacks Russian Nikita Mazepin

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Kevin Magnussen Returns

Kevin Magnussen has returned to the Haas Formula One team to replace Russian driver Nikita Mazepin who was sacked following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Haas also revealed it had dropped Mazepin’s billionaire father Dmitry’s company Uralkali as the team’s major sponsor.

Magnussen, a veteran of 119 Formula One grand prix races, last lined up on the grid in 2020 before being dropped by the Haas team.

In 2020, Magnussen recorded a career-worst result of picking up only one point during the season, while his team mate Romain Grosjean also picked up one point.

As a result, Hass terminated the contracts of both its drivers and brought in rookies Mick Schumacher, son of son of seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher, and Nikita Mazepin.

Following his exit from Formula One, Magnussen joined the Chip Ganassi team to take on the IMSA Sportscar Championship in the USA and collected four podiums and a victory in Detroit.

The Danish racer also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with his dad, former F1 driver Jan Magnussen, in the LMP2 class.

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Following the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Haas team moved quickly to sack Russian driver Nikita Mazepin and bring Magnussen back to the team.

Haas, who finished last in the 2021 constructors’ championship, said bringing back Magnussen was an easy decision for the team. 

The 29-year-old Magnussen has signed a ‘multi-year contract agreement’ with the Haas team. 

“I’m delighted to welcome Kevin Magnussen back to Haas F1 Team,” said Guenther Steiner, the Haas team principal.

“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 was a key component in our previous successes — not least when we both scored our best finishes in Formula 1 back in 2018.”

Magnussen said in a statement he was surprised to be asked back into F1, especially by Haas who let him go in 2020. 

“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,” he said. 

“We’ve enjoyed a solid relationship and our positive association remained even when I left at the end of 2020.”

Having not been part of pre-season testing, Magnussen will start his season well behind his fellow drivers, however he is excited for the opportunity to be back in Formula One.

“I’ve been briefed as much as possible on the development of the (car) and the potential in the package,” Magnussen said. 

“There’s work to do but I’m excited to be a part of it.”

After the news of his axing was revealed, Mazepin took to social media, writing: “While I understand the difficulties, the ruling from FlA plus my ongoing willingness to accept the conditions proposed in order to continue were completely ignored and no process was followed in this unilateral step.”

Mazepin was prepared to sign a document which would allow him to drive under a neutral flag and was surprised by his sacking.

“I did not expect Haas would break the contract with me. I didn’t see it coming,” Mazepin said in a virtual news conference. 

“It was a very painful and unexpected situation for me. There has been no legal reason for the team to terminate my contract. I lost my dream.”

The first race of the Formula One season will be held at Bahrain on March 21.

Picture of Joel Martelli
Joel Martelli
The only thing that Joel Martelli loves more than football (seriously, we wouldn't be surprised if he has a Wollongong Wolves tattoo) is writing about all things sports. With a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies Degree specialising in Journalism, he spends his days uncovering breaking athlete news stories and diving deep into play-by-play strategies. We're glad that he's put his passion to the pages of Only Sports as one of our dedicated sports writers.

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