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Magnussen: Steiner ruined everything when he called me!

Kevin Magnussen has spoken to the media for the first time since securing a surprise return to F1 with Haas, where he has been reunited with Guenther Steiner.

Returning Formula 1 racer Kevin Magnussen has joked that Guenther Steiner "ruined everything" when he received a phone call asking him to rejoin the Haas F1 team. Magnussen, who raced for Haas between 2017 and 2020, was ousted in favour of Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, as the American-led team struggled for finances. However, with Mazepin himself dropped along with title sponsor Uralkali, as Haas responded to the Ukraine crisis, the team opted to call up their former charge to see if he was interested in returning. "Guenther called me about a week ago. I was just about to go to the US with my family for a bit of a holiday before Sebring," Magnussen told media, including RacingNews365.com , when asked about the call from Haas. "I decided to go [to Florida] because I was like, 'Let's see if it happens or not'. So then I got to Miami and Guenther called back and said, 'OK, let's do it'. So I travelled back here [to Bahrain]."

Magnussen had no 'F1 clause' in his contracts

Magnussen was contracted to race in the IMSA SportsCar series with Chip Ganassi Racing this season, as well as with Puegeot's Hypercar project in the World Endurance Championship. "There was a lot of stuff that had to be sorted out, of course, [as] I was contracted to Peugeot and Ganassi. Actually, I was contracted to race with Ganassi at the Sebring 12-hour race next weekend, so he was super nice to let me out of that deal," he explained. Asked about whether he had an 'F1 clause', i.e. a stipulation in his contract that a situation such as this would trump his existing commitments, Magnussen said that there had been no such allowances in any of his existing deals. "No, none of the guys that I was committed to had to let me go," he said. "I've been very privileged to be with these two organisations that are so professional, and I think they understood. They weren't happy about it, of course, but I think they understood."

"Guenther ruined everything with his phone call!"

With Magnussen returning to F1 after a year away, having seemingly built up a successful career elsewhere, the Danish driver was asked why F1 had such allure that made him want to return to what is likely a midfield car. "I think I could have stayed in Formula 1 in a different team if I really wanted to [after 2020]," he said. "It would have been messy with a lot of sponsors and stuff like that, but I didn't really have the motivation, because I ran out of motivation to be running around the back. "I'd only done that for two years. Previous to that, I'd always been in the midfield, and that's actually really fun. I think just those two years were tough and I ran out of motivation to do that. "Then I went away, did some other racing, got podiums, pole positions and that was all really fun. I was enjoying it. But then Guenther called me and ruined all that! "I could feel in my stomach that, 'Yeah, I want to do this'. I didn't know that I missed it that much. But, when I got the opportunity, I was like, 'Yeah, I want this'."

Magnussen braced for a physical test

Having not driven an F1 car since the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Magnussen explained that his lack of F1-specific physical training may prove to be his biggest immediate hurdle. "I think my neck will need to get back, there are no cars that are as hard on the neck as F1 cars," he laughed. "That will take a while. I'm going to be killed tomorrow, I'm sure. It's gonna be fun!" Magnussen is due to share track time with Mick Schumacher on Friday and Saturday, as Haas field Pietro Fittipaldi on Thursday at the Bahrain test.

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