Formula 1 | Magnussen: It still feels amazing to be back in F1
A year on from his surprise return to Formula 1 to replace Nikita Mazepi at Haas F1, Kevin Magnussen realizes it’s not a dream, but he says the happiness of developing again in motorsport’s premier category is still high.
“I don’t think it’s pale” said Danish for RACER.
“After a while, reality kicks in: ‘Okay, I’m back,’ then you’re more focused. So you stop thinking about how amazing it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fantastic anymore. It’s just that you’ve got work to do.” and focus on the challenges ahead.”
“At the beginning of the season, it was almost hard to be skeptical or critical of anything because you’re like, ‘Oh, this is fantastic!'” Then you start to focus, although that doesn’t make it any less fun or any less fantastic. You just have to focus.”
In addition to his highly-remarkable debut in Bahrain with an impressive fifth place, Magnussen took an unexpected pole position at the end of the season at the Brazilian Grand Prix. And months after this feat, the 30-year-old pilot still has chills.
“It’s still crazy to think about it. It’s definitely the biggest moment of my F1 career, I absolutely loved it. It was great for us as a team to finish the season like that and go into the winter after taking pole position. Great. We know that , we don’t usually fight for results like this, but when the opportunity arose, we were there.”
His year away from Formula 1 was a “homecoming”.
Thanked by Haas F1 at the end of 2020, Magnussen has come to terms with the idea of an end to his elite career and will try multiple disciplines in the United States next year. However, the opportunity to thrive in a context with less pressure allowed him to regain full enjoyment of his work as a driver.
“2021 was a great year for me, kind of a homecoming and an opportunity to just be a race driver. I did a lot and it was fun.”
“I raced in IMSA and then in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with my dad, which was huge. Even though we had a bad race, it was amazing and it was a privilege to have that experience with my dad in the most competitive class. We’re no amateurs or we didn’t go to another class, we went to LMP2 against really good drivers and teams and we did it father and son together. It was amazing.”
“And I raced IndyCar too! I also did a few tests driving a Hypercar with Peugeot, I was part of that exciting program. So it’s been an incredible year. I’ve also become a father and I’m back in Denmark for the first time. So many great things in ten years happened.”
F1 drivers are not “damn” single drivers.
If driving in Formula 1 remains a priority for the Dane, a few months away from it has made it clear that it is not the only discipline where the level is extremely high.
“It also gives you a different perspective on a lot of things. Like the quality of drivers who are the best in IMSA, WEC and IndyCar, they’re very good. Very good. It’s not like Formula 1 drivers. They have one level or another. were the only people there. There’s a lot of talent, so it was exciting to see.”
“I’m also looking forward to doing a lot after F1. F1 is definitely the highest level of motorsport, that’s undeniable, but I’m also a racing driver who loves racing cars. I think 2021 has really confirmed that: “Yes , I love running!” Not that I ever doubted it, but I really felt how much I loved racing. I think that was a very good thing to feel.”
“I think it’s taken some of the pressure off my shoulders. Some of the pressure on myself has changed. Not anymore, there’s a lot of pressure to be a Formula 1 driver. And I want to be successful in what I can do, that’s my goal. But of course, Formula 1 I know that there is life beyond 1 and that life is very beautiful.”
Being a father allows him to “appreciate” life more
Kevin Magnussen, the father of a little girl, now has long-term prospects. While his return to Formula 1 will often force him to be away from his family, he still wants to make the most of the opportunities on offer.
“Of course it’s hard to be away from your child because there are so many changes. You go away for two or three weeks and when you come back the little person is different. Everything happens so quickly and sometimes you’re afraid to miss things.”
“But on the other hand, doing this gives me a lot of opportunities after F1. Until I didn’t have a sponsor, when I was 15, I was working as a welder in a factory. And sometimes I think, what would my life be like if I didn’t have this sponsor, probably simple I would be a welder.”
“There’s nothing wrong with that, but still doing it means I can do whatever I want after I finish F1. I don’t have to do anything, I can do whatever I want, it’s a really privileged position. I think it’s important to remember to appreciate that. .”