Formula 1: Kevin Magnussen replaces Russia’s Nikita Mazepin as Haas driver

Denmark's Kevin Magnussen, who used to be part of the Haas F1 team till 2020, made a comeback to the racing circuit with a multi-year contract. He wil
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen of Denmark attends the press conference ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. (File photo) (AP)
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen of Denmark attends the press conference ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. (File photo)

Formula One team Haas has replaced Russia's Nikita Mazepin as its first choice driver for this season's world racing championship. On Wednesday, Haas announced that its former Danish driver Kevin Magnussen would replace Mazepin after two years.

Magnussen has been part of the Haas Formula One team since 2017 when he made his debut. However, Haas had replaced Magnussen with Mazepin when the team restructured around financial crunch during the Covid-19 crisis.

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Magnussen will partner Mick Schumacher as Haas drivers for the upcoming Formula One season. The season starts in Bahrain on March 20 after a final three-day test starting today.

Guenther Steiner, chief of the Haas F1 team, said, "When looking for a driver who could bring value to the team, not to mention a wealth of Formula One 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 (reserve) Pietro Fittipaldi."

Magnussen also reacted to his return to Formula One circuit after a gap of two years. He said, “I was obviously very surprised but equally very excited to receive the call from Haas F1 Team. 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 want to thank Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner for the chance to resume my Formula 1 career. We’ve enjoyed a solid relationship and our positive association remained even when I left at the end of 2020."

Meanwhile, former Formula One driver Nikita Mazepin and his father Dmitry have been named on an EU sanctions blacklist after being fired by the US-owned F1 team following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The sanction means that Mazepin would have been unable to compete in many of the races even if his contract had not been terminated.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a 'special military operation', has led to a barrage of sanctions with ally Belarus also punished.

First Published Date: 10 Mar 2022, 07:23 AM IST

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