Kevin Magnussen has shed light on the current second seat saga unfolding at the Haas F1 Team, as three drivers continue to be linked to the American team.
Magnussen’s future won’t be up for discussion until the end of next season, after the Dane signed a two-year deal when he re-joined Haas at the start of the 2022 season.
The 29-year-old has performed well in his comeback season and has for the majority of the year been the better of the two current Haas drivers.
However, qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix didn’t go to plan for the Danish driver, who was eliminated in Q1.
He was comfortably beaten by team-mate Mick Schumacher, who had an incredible Saturday at Zandvoort and secured an eighth place start for Sunday’s race.
The Haas pair finished P13 and P15, respectively, with Schumacher ahead of Magnussen.
Schumacher is under increasing pressure to perform in the final races of the year, with the German’s future in Formula 1 at severe risk.
The 23-year-old is without a contract for 2023, with his best option appearing to be to remain at Haas.
His relationship with the team could be a stumbling block, with team principal Guenther Steiner knowingly interested in signing one of either Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi, or outgoing McLaren F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Magnussen can’t hide the fact that the current situation over who will be his team-mate for next season ‘interests’ him; however, he recognises that his role in determining the outcome is ‘non-existent’.
“I can’t pretend that it doesn’t interest me,” said Magnussen.
“But my role in that choice is non-existent so I can only patiently wait and see who it will be.
“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,” Magnussen added at Zandvoort.
Schumacher would most likely be the cheapest option for the team, who are by far one of the lowest financially backed teams on the grid.
The German driver has, in many people’s opinion, done enough to retain his seat, given the fact that it is still just his second season in the championship.
Steiner has spoken out against him at times this season, most notably after he crashed so heavily that his car split in two at the Monaco Grand Prix, something he also did in Saudi Arabia.
The possible argument Haas has for replacing Schumacher is that for the first part of the year he was unable to keep up with Magnussen’s pace.
As of late, though, the pendulum has started to swing in the young German’s favour.
Magnussen is aware that the entire situation with his team-mate is “difficult to talk about”; however, he praised Schumacher as “very good” with his talent being completely unquestionable.
“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,” he insisted.
Ricciardo’s career is also in just as much turmoil as the son of Michael Schumacher, with available seats being filled very quickly.
Haas appears to be his last shot, at least if he wants a car that can challenge for points.
Magnussen questioned whether Ricciardo’s ability is down to having a “good car” or his own talent, with the Dane unsure whether the 33-year-old Australian would actually “make the team better”.
“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,” Magnussen smiled.
“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.”