Magnussen to Haas – Right move, wrong time?

Henry Kelsall

At the Brazilian Grand Prix, Kevin Magnussen signed a two year deal with the Haas F1 team and in turn, leave the factory Renault squad at the end of the season. Could it be the right move for the Dane, but at the wrong time?

20 MAGNUSSEN Kevin (dnk) Renault action during the 2016 Formula One World Championship, Grand Prix of Austria from July 1 to 3 , in Spielberg, Austria - Photo Francois Flamand / DPPI

At the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Haas F1 team announced the signing of Kevin Magnussen from Renault, and it was a move that raised my eyebrows! For the past few races, I had expected the Dane to stay with the French Manufacturer. They liked him, he liked them, he’d driven well. Surely all good? Wrong! Despite being offered a new deal with the team, Magnussen decided instead to join the Haas team for at least two years.

Based on Renault’s 2016 campaign, you can hardly blame him. They have scored only three times, amassing 8 points all season. Haas have mustered more than triple that in their debut season including a sixth and fifth place in the first two races of the year. So it is not hard to see why he would not take up Renault’s offer.

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Renault are a fully-fledged, heavily funded factory team. Haas are not. The Enstone crew are solid and Frederic Vasseur certainly knows how to run a team. With all of this, and more, the car will no doubt get better and better as the years go on. It was enough to convince Force India star Nico Hulkenburg to join the team.

Haas on the other hand have a great partnership with Ferrari, but lac the funds of Renault. The team has struggled all year with brake issues and has slipped back massively since the Russian Grand Prix. Only twice since that race did they score points. As the collective newcomer, they also have yet to fully gel. With Manor improving and Sauber banging the drum of “2016 was irrelevant to what we’ll do in 2017”, the going could get even tougher for Haas in their second season.

MAGNUSSEN Kevin (dan) Renault F1 RS.16 driver Renault Sport F1 team action during the 2016 Formula One World Championship, Belgium Grand Prix from August 26 to 28 in Spa -Francorchamps, Belgium - Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

Magnussen wasn’t happy with the one-year deal Renault offered him, feeling it was rather non-committal. But perhaps he should have taken it. I think he is a incredibly talented driver and he more than deserves a drive like the Renault one. He could have achieved great things with them in the future. It is a great shame that will not happen.

 

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