Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Yas Marina, 2020

Magnussen: Second F1 departure more positive than ‘depressing’ 2014 exit

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Kevin Magnussen says his farewell drive for Haas this weekend will be “emotional”, but he’s excited for his future move to IMSA.

Magnussen has faced a departure from Formula 1 before, at the end of 2014, when he was sidelined by McLaren in favour of Fernando Alonso. He said his coming exit hasn’t hit him as hard as that did.

“So far I haven’t really felt like anything special is going on,” said Magnussen. “I’m not really feeling sad or anything.

“Last time, in 2014, I was very, very nervous about everything. I remember Abu Dhabi in 2014 being a terrible race because there was so much uncertainty. They had told me they would take the option and then it dragged out and they didn’t take the option and eventually dropped me. I remember being so sad about everything and depressed about it.

“But I think because now I’ve had a few years in Formula 1, I’m really looking forward to what’s going to happen next. It’s super exciting and something that I’m truly looking forward to.”

Magnussen scored a surprise podium on his debut
Magnussen admitted he’s looking forward to being back in a competitive car after two lean years with Haas. “The last few years have been difficult in Formula 1,” he said. “It’s not been super exciting for me racing at the back.

“There’s been really good points, but really what I’m looking back at [here] is more like 2018 when we were doing really well.

“So I’m just looking forward to what’s going to happen now, looking forward to getting 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, which I’m really super excited about. It’s in a month’s time, I’m going to start driving the car at Daytona. So that’s how I feel at the moment – not really sad about things, just really excited.”

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Magnussen said reaching F1 had been the fulfilment of a childhood dream. “I’ve been really blessed and privileged to have been given this opportunity that I’ve had in Formula 1.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Red Bull Ring, 2018
Two fifth places were as good as it got at Haas
“I’ve been in Formula 1 for eight years if I count my testing as well, and I’ve had six seasons of racing, kind of seven. I came from a little kid dreaming about F1 and I went for it and I believed in it and got there and had this opportunity.”

He finished on the podium in his first race for McLaren in 2014, but wasn’t able to improve on that in his subsequent seasons.

“I dreamt of being world champion, I dreamt of winning races but I got a podium and a fair few seasons in F1,” he said. “If I think about where I came from and getting there and doing all these seasons, I can only really be satisfied with that. Certainly I would have loved to win races and championships, but [there’s] still a lot to be happy about.”

Magnussen said he will feel “at peace” if Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix turns out to be his last F1 race. “I know in motorsports you should never say never. In Formula 1 lots of things can happen but I’m ready to call this my last race.

“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.

“But I think the main thing that’s going to be emotional is saying goodbye to all the guys in Haas F1 team. It’s a bunch of people that I’ve really grown very close to and some people that have been super supportive of me over those four years. Some guys that I’ve become friends with and that I’m certainly going to miss working with every other weekend.

“So I think that’s going to be the main emotional thing. The rest, I’m actually just more excited about what’s going to happen now and what lies ahead of me, but it’s certainly going to be emotional to say goodbye to all these guys.”

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2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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7 comments on “Magnussen: Second F1 departure more positive than ‘depressing’ 2014 exit”

  1. Cadillac called.

  2. Well, certainly hope his IMSA racing will be fun and exciting and succesful, seems like this time it might be the right thing to go and find other pastures to graze, so good luck and good fun!

  3. Kevin’s departure has been overshadowed by Grosjean’s miraculous escape. I’m sure he’ll find plenty of excitement racing in other series and perhaps racing with his dad.

  4. It’s nice to see a driver leaving F1 at peace with himself. He’s definitely been a wildcard over the years, straight talking off track and knife fighting on it.

  5. What’s IMSA?

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      12th December 2020, 1:31

      @casanova it’s the premier American sportscar championship, that his dad raced in for years and years. Used to be the American Le Mans Series. Racing for Ganassi though suggests he’s hoping it’s a stepping stone to an Indycar drive

  6. I am happy for Kevin, the last two years can’t have been very fun. Looking back I think Hockenheim 2014 was a huge blow to his career. Lining up fourth on the grid, but Massa provoked the crash in turn 1 (IMO at least) and then he was still fast enough to get back to 10th place. Could have been another podium and he would have been much closer to Button in the standings. Could have, would have, I know. But perhaps he would have been retained at Mclaren. Oh well, the 2015 Mclaren was abysmal :)

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