Kevin Magnussen sheds light on Schumacher’s replacement

Kevin Magnussen sheds light on Schumacher's replacement

With Mick Schumacher’s future uncertain, Kevin Magnussen is the sole Haas driver currently slated to race with the team in 2023.

In light of the ongoing second-seat drama at the Haas F1 Team, which continues to include three drivers, Kevin Magnussen has provided some insight.

Since the Dane signed a two-year contract when he re-joined Haas at the beginning of the 2022 season, discussions over Magnussen’s future won’t begin until the conclusion of the 2023 campaign.

The 29-year-old has done well in his first season back and has consistently outperformed his Haas teammate Mick Schumacher for most of the year.

But the Danish driver’s qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix didn’t go as planned as he was disqualified in Q1.

He was easily defeated by teammate Mick Schumacher, who had a fantastic Saturday at Zandvoort and earned a starting position of P8 for the Sunday’s race. Schumacher finished in front of Magnussen in the Haas pair’s P13 and P15 finishes, respectively.

The German driver’s future in Formula 1 is at severe risk, as he is under growing pressure to perform in the last races of the year. The 23-year-old lacks a contract for 2023, and staying at Haas seems to be his best choice.

Considering team principal Guenther Steiner is consciously interested in recruiting either outgoing McLaren F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo or Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi, his relationship with the team might become a stumbling block.

Magnussen is unable to hide the fact that the ongoing debate about who will be his teammate for the upcoming season interests him, but he is aware that his influence on the conclusion is non-existent.

“I can’t pretend that it doesn’t interest me, but my role in that choice is non-existent so I can only patiently wait and see who it will be,” said Magnussen.

“For my own sake, I hope we still have a good driver in the car next year… The focus is that we score points and as a team move forward and grow in the long term.”

The squad, which is by far one of the least financially supported teams on the grid, would probably find Schumacher to be the least expensive alternative.

Given that it is still only his second season in the championship, many people believe the German driver has done enough to keep his spot.

Steiner has criticized him on several occasions this season, most notably after his car split in two following a severe crash at the Monaco Grand Prix and another one in Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, Haas might use the fact that he struggled to match Magnussen’s pace early in the year as justification for replacing Schumacher.

But now, the tide has begun to turn in the young German’s favor. Although Schumacher’s condition is tough to talk about, according to Magnussen, Schumacher’s talent is unquestioned and he is a really good driver.

“It is always difficult to talk about this sort of thing,” Magnussen said, “but it is clear that Mick is a talented driver. I’ve said it many times that you don’t win Formula 3 and Formula 2 without talent.”

“Obviously you have to be in the right teams, but the cars are basically the same so you have to be the best driver that year and he did that.”

“Most drivers who have won the categories on their way to Formula 1 are very good.”

With seats filling up quickly, Ricciardo’s career is in just as much uncertainty as that of Michael Schumacher’s son.  If he wants a car that can battle for points, Haas appears to be his best option.

Magnussen expressed uncertainty over whether the 33-year-old Australian would genuinely make the team better and questioned whether Ricciardo’s skill was due to having a good car or his own abilities.

“I have no idea if Daniel can make the team better,” added the Danish driver. “From the outside I’ve always seen him as a driver who was extremely good, but it’s hard to judge in reality.”

“How much of it was a good car and how much of it was him? But he raced against Max and did well and I’m quite convinced that Max is as good as he looks… I’d also like to believe that if Max was put in a Haas, there would be things that he couldn’t do. At least to begin with.”

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