Written by Morgan Holiday, Edited by Umut Yelbaşı
On Wednesday the 9th of March, Haas announced that Kevin Magnussen would be driving for their Formula 1 team in 2022 and beyond. This announcement followed Haas’ decision to drop Russian company Uralkali as their title sponsor and subsequently terminate Nikita Mazepin’s involvement with the team.
Magnussen is a familiar face, not just in Formula 1 but in the Haas F1 team, having driven for the team from 2017-2020 previously. He’s an experienced driver and proven points finisher, something the team will be looking forward to after a tough season with two rookies in the 2021 season. While the VF-21 car was by and large the worst performing car on the grid last year, having unproven drivers in the car likely meant that it never reached its full potential.
Unlike Mazepin, Mick Schumacher will be staying with Haas for 2022, meaning that after a year of getting used to the car, team, and tracks, he’ll now be faced with the biggest test of his Formula 1 career thus far.
Schumacher was the better performing of the two Haas drivers in 2021, having the measure of Mazepin in all but a few races, and easily out-pacing him week after week. But let’s face it, beating Mazepin wasn’t much of an achievement, and doesn’t tell us a whole lot about Schumacher’s real ability as a driver. On top of that, drivers are given a bit of a break generally during their rookie year, as they often spend their first season getting up to speed with everybody else.
Up against an experienced and fairly well respected driver like Magnussen, Schumacher will now be forced to perform to the best of his ability and prove that he has what it takes to be racing in Formula 1. As a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, he’ll be aware that their Formula 1 team will be watching closely to see how he stacks up against a more experienced teammate. While Ferrari seems very happy with their current lineup of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, it’s no secret that the team has an interest in signing Schumacher at some point in the future.
If Schumacher wants a chance at a Ferrari seat, he’s going to have to do what his former fellow academy driver Antonio Giovinazzi never quite managed. He’s going to have to put in some impressive and show-stopping performances in what will most likely be a car running at the back of the pack or at the bottom of the midfield, against a teammate with years of experience in Formula 1, as the Prancing Horse watches closely.
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