Kevin Magnussen and the Haas F1 Team can probably agree on one thing as Magnussen readies himself for his final Formula 1 weekend before heading to sports cars and a ride with Ganassi Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech series next year: Neither Magnussen nor the Haas F1 Team lived up to each other’s expectations during Magnussen’s four-year run there.
Magnussen is closing out his run with Haas—and likely his F1 career—with a whimper, having scored just one point this season. He’s 2oth out of 23 in the Formula 1 Drivers’ Standings. His average starting position on the grid is 16.6, while his average finishing position is 15.8.
It’s been that kind of meh season for the 28-year-old.
“I don’t really have any wishes for how the fans should remember me,” Magnussen said in Abu Dhabi during a video conference with the media on Thursday. “It’s like they can remember me for whatever they want to remember me for. It’s not like I think about that stuff.
“I think I’ve been really blessed and privileged to be be given this opportunity I’ve had in Formula 1. I’ve been in Formula 1 for eight years, if f I count my testing years as well. I’ve had six seasons of racing, kinda sorta, but I came from a little kid dreaming about F1. I went for it and I believed in it and got there and had this opportunity.
“Yeah, I dreamed of being a World Champion. I dreamed of winning races. But I got a podium and fair few seasons in Formula 1. If I think about where I came from and getting there and doing all these seasons, I can only really be satisfied with that.”
This weekend marks the 100th race in Formula 1 for the Haas F1 Team. There have been few bright spots, but one of those came in the 2018 when teammate Romain Grosjean and Magnussen finished 4-5 at Austria. That season was the high water mark for Haas—the team finished fifth in the championship and Magnussen was ninth in the drivers’ chase.
This season has been far short of expectations for both the team and for Magnussen. Haas is mired in ninth place in the F1 Constructors’ Championship with just three points. Magnussen has scored one point and only finished on the lead lap in three of 16 races. In last week’s race at Bahrain, Magnussen finished 32.37 seconds off the lead, which is actually the closest he’s been to the front at the end of any race this year.
“The last few years have been difficult in Formula 1,” Magnussen said. “It’s not been super exciting for me racing at the back. What I’m really looking back at is 2018 when we were doing really well.
“I’m just looking forward to what’s going to happen now. I’m looking forward to going back in a car that I know is going to be able to win in a team that I know can give me the chance of fighting for championships. My first race is going to be Daytona (the Rolex 24), which I’m really super excited about.”
Magnussen will move to the Ganassi Racing in IMSA, where he’ll drive the team’s new Cadillac DPi along with sports car veteran Renger van der Zande. Magnussen will be following in the footsteps of his father, Jan, who raced for the championship Corvette Racing team in IMSA.
“Certainly on Sunday when I park the car after the race, I’m going to think about the fact that jumping out of the car could be the last time I jump out of a Formula 1 car,” Kevin Magnussen said. “But I think the main thing that’s going to be emotional is saying goodbye to all the guys in the Haas F1 Team. It’s a bunch of people that I’ve really grown very close to, and some people who have been super supportive of me over those four years.”
One of those guys who’s had Magnussen’s back is team principal Guenther Steiner, who ultimately made the call this year not to renew Magnussen or Grosjean. Instead, the team is going with youth in 2021, namely Formula 2 stars Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
🇩🇰 K-Mag looks ahead to his final race for the team, after four fine years with #HaasF1#AbuDhabiGP pic.twitter.com/gWqY5o7uud
“I’m very proud we’ve reached the mark (100 races) and I’m very proud of us as a team,” Steiner said. “My thanks go out to our drivers, too. Romain (Grosjean) unfortunately had to leave two Grands Prix early because of his incident in Bahrain, of which we were thankful for the outcome, and Kevin (Magnussen) has been with us the last four years and has been a big contributor to the growth of the team.
“I want to wish him good luck for the future. Both those guys will be remembered as part of the founding members of Haas F1.”
Is this the last we’ve heard of Magnussen in Formula 1? What if this is the last F1 ride?
“I’m pretty at peace with it,” Magnussen said. “I know in motorsport you should never say never. In Formula 1, lots of things can happen, but I’m ready to call this my last race.
“I’m going to go out and enjoy it and drive this amazing car that is so satisfying to drive and just think back on this amazing opportunity that I’ve been given. Growing up as a kid and dreaming about Formula 1 and wanting to get to Formula 1 and then get there and make a career out of it is something that I feel really lucky and privileged to be able to have done.”
While maybe not the most inspiring four-year run in F1 history, Kevin Magnussen made his mark in helping the Haas F1 Team make it to its 100th race. What’s the future look like for the team? Start the conversation in the comments section below.
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