K-Mag’s Haas return begins with solo run to P1

Jon Wilde
Kevin Magnussen during pre-season testing. Bahrain March 2022.

Kevin Magnussen in the Haas during official pre-season testing. Bahrain March 2022.

A Haas in P1 is rarer than hen’s teeth, but that is what transpired at the end of Bahrain’s second day of pre-season testing.

But it was not a level playing field in the sense that Kevin Magnussen, who has returned to the team this week, had the circuit all to himself for an extra hour’s running in the cooler evening temperatures.

Nevertheless, it will be an encouraging sign for Haas, who have experienced all sorts of problems on and off track in the last few weeks, beset by reliability issues during the ‘unofficial’ test in Barcelona.

The troubles away from the circuit related to events in the Ukraine, leading to a parting of the ways between Haas and their title sponsor plus driver Nikita Mazepin.

That left them seeking a new team-mate to partner Mick Schumacher and the choice was Magnussen, who raced for Haas from 2017-20 and has been brought back into the fold having extracted himself from his sportscar commitments.

The reason why Haas were granted an extra hour of running was that they missed the opening morning due to the late arrival of freight, and extended Friday and Saturday afternoon programmes were permitted instead of an extra session on Sunday that was vetoed by other teams.

Schumacher had managed only 23 laps in the morning but Magnussen pumped in 60 during the five hours available to him – and ended by knocking Carlos Sainz off the top of the timesheet by 0.325sec on the same C4 compound of tyres.

It was reminiscent of when Haas, who failed to score a point last season, also ended 2021 with a P1 – courtesy of Robert Shwartzman in the Abu Dhabi test as he was the only driver that day using a 2021 car with its 13-inch tyres.

Whether Haas can figure so highly in the standings beyond testing is another matter, but Schumacher continues to believe the team are on an upward curve again after a poor couple of years.


“I think we are on a good way, we are starting to understand the car better and better and now I guess it’s just about being reliable,” said the German.

“I think everyone is very happy, looking forward to starting to race. It’s a matter of trying to learn and putting the package together that we have, and I believe it’s strong right now – just a matter of showing it.”


Magnussen back at Haas

Haas made the decision to turn back to their former driver in very quick fashion.