Kevin Magnussen is “99.9% sure” to drive his last Formula 1 race in this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, according to reports in Denmark.
The Haas driver and his colleague Romain Grosjean look set to be dropped by their team at the end of the season to make way for two new arrivals at the American-owned constructor, possibly even two rookies who can lead them into the new era of regulations in 2022.
And, says Peter Nygaard, the F1 correspondent for Danish newspaper BT, who spoke to Magnussen at the last race in Germany, there will be no other spaces available for the 28-year-old whose time in F1 began with McLaren in 2014.
It was one of those races with a lot of opportunities, but unfortunately we were unlucky with the choice of strategy and didn’t end up in the points. Great for the team to get two points though 👊🏼 pic.twitter.com/Vm2ghJpV4J
— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) October 11, 2020
“I am 99.9% sure Kevin Magnussen’s Formula 1 career will end with the season finale in Abu Dhabi on December 13,” said Nygaard.
“His career thus becomes another victim of the corona crisis. Without the financial problems that have followed in the slipstream of COVID-19, Haas, Williams and others could have afforded to look more at the drivers’ talent than their financial backing.
“Haas, who just a year ago felt too inexperienced to occupy just one car with a debutant, will now likely drive with two rookies, which underscores how hard the crisis is scratching.
“After all, nobody, not even team manager Guenther Steiner or owner Gene Haas, can believe that, for example, Nikita Mazepin, Callum Illott or Robert Shwartzman can gain more points for the team in 2021 than Magnussen.
“But they can contribute to the budget with hundreds of millions, and that is unfortunately most important in these times.
“Kevin Magnussen has always said he only drives Formula 1 to win. The goal has always been to become World Champion, but as Formula 1 has evolved during the corona crisis that goal is now unrealistic.
“Magnussen neither can nor will pay for a ‘showcase’ with one of the smaller teams that could possibly lead to a place with one of the top teams.
“That’s why Magnussen leaves Formula 1. It’s been seven years since he won a race [Formula Renault 3.5 Series] and there is no prospect it will happen in Formula 1.
“It will be exciting to see where he continues his career, but he told me at the Nürburgring that in any case he will not settle for a reserve driver job. He will run – and win – races in 2021.”
Nygaard concludes by saying “anything can happen” in F1, for example a shock Lewis Hamilton retirement that could alter the picture dramatically, but caveats by calling that scenario “very unrealistic”.