Ex-Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean has admitted that he didn’t expect his former team-mate Kevin Magnussen to return to the pinnacle of motorsport, after the duo were dropped by Haas at the end of 2020.
Grosjean and Magnussen were dropped by the American side at the end of 2020 in favour of rookies Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, who both spent the 2021 campaign at the back of the grid.
Following their F1 exit, Grosjean and Magnussen switched to racing in America, with the Frenchman having switched to IndyCar whilst the Dane moved to IMSA.
Remarkably, though, Magnussen was re-signed by Haas just a matter of days before the start of the 2022 season, after Mazepin was dropped following the ignition of the conflict in Eastern Europe.
The 30-year-old performed admirably in 2022 and claimed 25 points, with his best result having been P5 at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
Grosjean has since admitted that he “didn’t see” Magnussen’s return to the F1 paddock ever happening, with the Danish driver having tested in an Indycar right before he was announced as Haas’ second driver for last year.
According to Grosjean, Magnussen was also planning on racing in IndyCar last year, after missing the “feeling” of racing in a single-seater championship.
“No, I didn’t see it coming,” Grosjean admitted on Sky Sports’ Any Driven Monday.
“And the funny thing is that two weeks before it was announced, he was testing an IndyCar in Sebring.
“I was testing that day and we just had a great chat. He was telling me how much he wanted to try to do IndyCar – IMSA was great, but he still missed driving a single seater, the feeling of it. And two weeks later, he was back in Formula 1 with Haas.
“Obviously he showed everyone what he was capable of when the car was good at the beginning.
“Sadly, they kind of went down the order. Seems to be a little bit of a pattern with the team. Hopefully they can change that for the future because they’re always able to produce a good car initially, especially with the change of regulation, but then going into the season, they do struggle a little bit to keep up with the development.
“So I was really pleased for Kevin, just for him to be out there and to show what he was capable of.
“I know when we were racing together that the last couple of years, we just had a really bad car, but it’s hard for people to judge until you give someone a good car and that person was at the back and now he’s at the front, so that was really cool for Kev.
“I know he’s been enjoying his time in Formula 1 and hopefully, as I say, they can progress next year and Kevin can do some really good results.”