Haas F1 Signs Magnussen For 2017

With the promise to finalize their drivers for the 2017 season by this race weekend in Brazil, the American Haas F1 Team announced Friday that Esteban Gutierrez will not rejoin the team, being replaced by Dane Kevin Magnussen, who currently drives for Renault. His position will be taken by current pilot, Jolyon Palmer.

Magnussen has had a tough year for the French team, but had a good frame of mind that he wanted more than a one year deal, something that Renault could not do.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m very happy to be a part of Haas F1 Team.” Stated Magnussen following his confirmation. “Obviously, I’m confident in my abilities as a Formula One driver, but I’m also very confident of what Haas F1 Team can do in its second season and every season thereafter. Gene Haas has come into Formula One with a strong vision and a different way of doing things. He’s making it work and work well. I’ve had a good vantage point all season long, and I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel of next year’s Haas VF-17.”

Magnussen’s deal with Haas will be for two seasons, joining Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who will drive for the second year in also his two-season contract. Grosjean feels that his new teammate did the right thing, something that Grosjean himself was happy to do.

“A little more than a year ago I made my decision to join Haas F1 Team and it was absolutely the right decision,” Grosjean said. “I’m very proud to be a part of the team’s development and am very happy we can continue to grow and achieve more success in the years ahead.”

For Gene Haas, it was a decision that was not surprising, knowing that he had seen Magnussen perform and felt that he needed two drivers with good experience.

“We wanted an experienced driver capable of developing our car and our race team into one that can score points and better itself each race and each season. Romain has done a very good job of that and he’s played a large role in bringing respect and legitimacy to Haas F1 Team,” Haas said to ESPN F1. “We have a new set of challenges next year with a new car and a new set of regulations, and his veteran leadership will again prove valuable.”

Team Manager Guenther Steiner agreed and added that Gutierrez at least should be thanked for what he has done this season.

“As a brand new team with a new car and new personnel, it was incredibly important to have detailed, authoritative feedback of our racecar and our methods so that we could improve. Romain brought a lot of experience to our team and has been instrumental in getting us to where we are today. Credit also goes to Esteban Gutiérrez for all of his work. His time with Ferrari was very beneficial as it helped get us acquainted with its methodologies and make the most of our partnership with them. He and Romain pushed each other on the track and together they’re responsible for the success we’ve had in our first season.”

The position now leaves Gutierrez with no driver slot for next season, unless he tries Sauber or Manor, which are the only teams now with available seats for 2017.

But Magnussen’s current teammate, Palmer, feels that his Danish partner should have stayed, mainly because of the French manufacturer advancing quicker with a new chassis and engine for next season, and their ability to ask Magnussen first, then Palmer for a contract renewal.

“I think if Renault turned to Kevin then he’s made a mistake to turn it down because I think they’ll be ahead of Haas next year.” Palmer stated. “It’s a manufacturer team going places. If you get the choice to go to Red Bull for one year it’s better than going to Toro Rosso for two years. I’m not sure that’s definitely the case, but anyway I don’t care because I’m in the seat for next year and nothing changes for me. So it’s fine.”

Hopefully it will be the same for Haas, for they too, like Renault, must move up the midfield and challenge the teams that are currently in that position.

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