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Magnussen on comeback nerves and being a unique sort of F1 father · RaceFans


Just a few days earlier than the beginning of the 2022 Components 1 season, Kevin Magnussen’s telephone lit up. A well-recognized identify wished to talk to him.

His former Haas staff boss Guenther Steiner was on the road with an necessary query. He wished his ex-driver again, with fast impact to exchange the ousted Nikita Mazepin. In brief order, Magnussen was on a airplane heading to Bahrain for the ultimate pre-season check.

Quick-forward six months later and Magnussen is absolutely ingrained again within the F1 household for the third time. Now a father, he sits eleventh within the driver standings, comfortably forward of junior staff mate Mick Schumacher.

Having arrived in F1 with McLaren in 2014 however spent most of 2015 on the sidelines earlier than returning with Renault, Magnussen initially joined Haas in 2017 and stayed there for 4 years. His departure got here when Steiner changed his skilled pairing of Magnussen and Romain Grosjean with two rookies, for causes which had been primarily monetary.

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren SP, IndyCar, Road America, 2021
McLaren SP gave Magnussen his IndyCar debut final yr

Magnussen then spent a lot of final yr in America, taking part in sports activities vehicles and IndyCar and was set to hitch Peugeot for the World Endurance Championship. Then got here the surprising name from Haas.

He has subsequently made a second return to Components 1, a sport he was steeped in from an early age. He arrived on the planet properly earlier than father Jan Magnussen made his debut as a grand prix driver.

The primary Magnussen to race in F1 was dominating the British Components Three championship in 1994, the yr his son turned two. Jan made his Components 1 debut the next yr, and after bowing out mid-way by 1998 spent the following years in and round F1, earlier than concentrating on sports activities automotive racing.

The youthful Magnussen’s grand prix profession has already lasted significantly longer than his father’s. He says his childhood formed him into the racing driver he’s now, and his hero father was eager for him to chase his F1 dream.

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“It’s not like I’ve had this type of ‘super-pacing’ household,” he defined in an unique interview for RaceFans. “It’s not been like that.

Magnussen rapidly adjusted again to life in F1

“However as a result of I used to be so into it and I actually, actually was dreaming about changing into a Components 1 driver, they wished me to go for it, after which it’s sort of my selection. Then [they were like] now you’ve chosen, you’ve bought to go and [make it happen].”

Magnussen’s return to the game noticed some massive adjustments in his life: He married his accomplice Louise Gjørup and have become a father. His daughter Laura arrived in January 2021. Two days after she was born – seven weeks early – Magnussen left for America to race within the IMSA sports activities automotive sequence the place his father loved a lot success.

What are the probabilities of his daughter persevering with the road of racing Magnussens? Her upbringing will probably be completely different from his, he says. Whereas his mother and father “let me steer clear of college on a regular basis and stuff like that” to additional his racing profession, Magnussen says “I don’t assume I might try this” for his baby.

“I need to ensure that she goes to highschool, finishes that and I don’t need to put all of the eggs in a single basket as I did.

“I had an ideal childhood and so many good recollections and it’s been so enjoyable, a lot enjoyable, this journey in the direction of F1. Nevertheless it’s additionally been quite a lot of threat.

“I don’t know what would have occurred if I hadn’t performed properly in F3 after which I’m 16 years outdated and I’ve wasted all my education and all that. So it might have been powerful I believe if I hadn’t made it.”

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Having grown up with knowledgeable racing driver as a father, it’s clear Magnussen feels considerably conflicted in regards to the enchantment motor racing may need for his personal baby.

“I actually received’t push her. I’m going to be very cautious of encouraging her too. Nevertheless it’s powerful as a result of I really like racing and I really like a day on the go-kart observe, so why would I conceal her away from it?

“If she desires to have a go, I will surely let her have a go and have enjoyable with it. However I believe my mother and father had been possibly a bit extra bold on my behalf than I might be.

“I believe I’d let her simply have enjoyable with it, if she builds up a ardour for it and an ambition, then I’ll be proper behind.”

Moreover the arrival of his daughter, Magnussen’s comeback coincided with Components 1’s laws overhaul in 2022 and a return to normality after the Covid-19 pandemic. Nonetheless he had some misgivings about combining his new household life with the relentless grind of F1 competitors.

“It’s been fairly good, surprisingly good,” mirrored Magnussen. “I believe I used to be a bit bit nervous about that scenario after I mentioned ‘sure’ to coming again.

“I assumed, I ponder how it’s? I assumed it might be harder than it’s.”

His determination to relocate has proved a considerably surprising profit. “I reside in Denmark now, that’s my base and that sort of signifies that journey a bit extra,” he explains.

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“However then really after I’m not someplace, then I’m going house and that feels superb, whereas earlier than I lived simply to reside near the staff or no matter, and I’d have quite a lot of days [away] as a result of there are tax guidelines and stuff – you possibly can’t simply spend all of your spare time in Denmark if [you’re] not paying tax there.

Fifth in Bahrain was “fortunate”, Magnussen admits

“So it’s simpler now that I simply have all the liberty to all the time be in Denmark after I’m off obligation.”

Any issues he may need had had been swiftly dispelled by a triumphant fifth place within the first race of the season in Bahrain. Nevertheless which will have set preliminary expectations too excessive, he concedes.

“First race, we bought a bit bit fortunate,” he admits. “We received the ‘better of the remainder’ race, however then two Purple Bulls had some failures within the final couple of laps, so we bought P5. That end result seems actually, actually good.

“Then different races we’ve sort of performed as properly, however we’ve had reliability points or the technique went in opposition to us with a security automotive that hit us within the mistaken spot or one thing like that, so that you don’t have something to indicate for it.

“However I believe the automotive has been good very persistently, so at the least we had the potential to have good outcomes on a regular basis. We simply had this era of 4 or 5 races earlier than Silverstone the place nothing went proper. There’s nothing you possibly can level to.”

With double factors finishes in Silverstone and Austria – tenth and eighth respectively for Magnussen – the staff regarded in fine condition. This was regardless of the actual fact it hadn’t introduced any important developments for its VF22 because the season started. Magnussen admitted he had been uncertain that ready till the thirteenth spherical of the season to deliver any upgrades was the suitable determination.

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“I used to be sceptical, for positive,” he mentioned. “However truthful play, it sort of labored out. It’s actually not that the rationale we didn’t rating factors was as a result of the automotive wasn’t quick sufficient. So having an improve earlier within the yr wouldn’t have modified something.”

Because the staff’s prime scorer, Magnussen obtained the one instance of Haas’s improve on the final race in Hungary. Nevertheless contact with Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren at flip one led to an enforced entrance wing change which left him sixteenth on the flag.

Nonetheless Magnussen’s comeback has been a hit thus far and the potential to do even higher within the second half of the season is clearly there. It’s been an astonishing change for the driving force whose F1 profession gave the impression to be over lower than 12 months in the past, but now seems to have a lot additional to run.

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