Kevin Magnussen admits that he no longer fears losing his seat in F1 after spending a year away from the sport.
The Dane was left without a place on the grid for the 2021 season, after he and teammate Romain Grosjean were replaced at Haas by rookies Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
However, following Mazepin's exit from the American outfit ahead of the 2022 campaign, Magnussen made a surprise return to his former team, with the move announced less than two weeks before the first race of the year.
Despite only being absent from Formula 1 for 12 months, Magnussen says that it felt like much longer, and as such he has developed a very different attitude in that time.
Magnussen: F1 not the most important thing in life
In his time away from F1, Magnussen competed in other categories of motorsport such as sports cars, and in his personal life became a father for the first time.
The 29-year-old acknowledges that these experiences have probably contributed to how relaxed he has felt since being back in Formula 1.
"Maybe it's because it hasn't really sunk in that I'm back," Magnussen told the Beyond The Grid podcast.
"I think it's a combination of all the things that happened in that year. I feel like the year I had out felt like 10 years. It felt like so much stuff happened in just a year and a half.
"When I got back in the car, I didn't really feel like I'd been out for very long. But, when I look at the other stuff that happened outside of the track, it feels like a long time."
Viewed by others:
A change in perspective
Magnussen feels that parenthood has altered his perspective on what is most important in his life.
"I think having a kid certainly moves around all your priorities in life a little bit," he added.
"Formula 1 is still super important, but it's not the most important thing in your life. Something else is more important, your family is more important, and the life outside of F1, related to anything with your family, that life is the most important.
"Before, it wasn't.
Formula 1 was absolutely the most important thing, and I thought
happiness was one-to-one related to F1, at least that's how it felt. If
it wasn't going well on track, then my whole life was [a] misery.
"It's not like that anymore. It feels very different."
Better to be "happy" than "scared"
With this change in attitude, Magnussen thinks that he has been able to enjoy his return to the sport more.
He has also lost the fear of it slipping away, given that he already experienced a year out from the world of Formula 1 in 2021.
"It certainly feels like I'm able to enjoy it more," the driver explained.
"I feel like it's all just like a bonus or a gift somehow, and I can just have fun. Also, I think maybe losing F1 – having that slip away and having closed the chapter on F1, fully, mentally – then makes it a little less scary now.
"I've lost it, and I felt fine with it. Now, I'm not scared of losing it. I hope I can have many years in Formula 1 for now, but I'm not scared anymore, and I don't think it's good to be scared.
"I think it's way better to just be happy and grateful, and then not have any fear, and that's kind of where I am now. I'm very relaxed, and I know what I'm able to do.
"I feel like I know my capabilities, and I feel confident with that, so there's not anything that I'm really worried about. If if that isn't good enough, then so be it."
F1 Podcast: Are Red Bull now favourites and has Hamilton hit a new low?
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour and Thomas Maher look back over the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Red Bull triumphed, Ferrari hit trouble and Mercedes struggled.