Kevin Magnussen isn’t sure who is being lined up by Haas for 2021, but says Mick Schumacher must be on their list.
Magnussen and team-mate Romain Grosjean have been Haas’ drivers since the start of the 2017 season, but 2020 will be their final year together after the American outfit announced that both of them would be dropped at the end of the year.
All signs are pointing towards a 2021 line-up comprised of rookies Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin for Haas.
Less is known about Mazepin asides from his handy performances in the Formula 2 Championship, but Schumacher, who currently leads the F2 standings, is widely expected to be a Haas driver for 2021.
Magnussen doesn’t know who is going to replace himself and Grosjean, but said Schumacher must be on Haas’ list, calling him a “big talent”.
“I think depending on who they announce, there are some young drivers out there that really are good drivers,” he said as part of the In The Pink podcast.
“I think Schumacher has got to be on the list. I don’t know these things, neither Guenther or Gene tell me any of this but I’m assuming that Schumacher is on the list.
“I’ve met him and talked to him and he seems like a very bright young lad and obviously he’s a big talent, he’s leading the F2 championship and driving brilliantly.
“So I think he, certainly, is going to be good, whatever he brings in terms of deals with him. I’m sure just in the driving and his ability, I think he’s going to be great for the team.”
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) November 15, 2020
Haas enjoy a close working relationship with Ferrari, and Schumacher is of course a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy.
Mazepin, if he as expected gets the second seat, would bring plenty of backing with him in the form of his billionaire father Dmitry Mazepin.
But Magnussen doesn’t think this is a sign of Haas switching to ‘pay drivers’.
“It’s really difficult to define a pay driver because I think all drivers bring with them some sort of commercial value,” he explained.
“There are drivers that just pay a cheque and then get their seats, there’s some drivers that families have money and they can buy teams and really go flat-out like that.
“But I think all drivers, even the very good ones, bring with them some sort of commercial value, whether it be partners that the drivers have, that then follow them into the teams and support the teams if the driver is the right one.
“Whoever sits in the other car, I think they will need someone that brings some sort of package with him and I don’t know who that’s going to be.
“It would surely be better if you have some experience but I think there’s some young drivers, Schumacher included, that could make up for that and get on top of it quickly.
“I think it’s tough when the driver is responsible for such a big part of the commercial package. In football it works easier because the players are owned by the clubs and the clubs buy them off each other and they go on loans to other clubs.
“So you know that you have a value as a player; if you are in a club, then that club will have to sell you to another club because you are a value, an asset for them. So that’s not how it works in Formula 1, unfortunately. But that will never change. That’s how it is, motorsport is difficult in that way.”