Kevin Magnussen has explained why he previously turned down an “unofficial offer” from Red Bull to join their Toro Rosso team.
Magnussen’s career in Formula 1 began with plenty of promise. When he arrived on the scene with McLaren in 2014, he was regarded as a bright prospect for the future and his podium on debut in Australia further emphasised that.
From there though, things did not quite go as smoothly as Magnussen would have hoped for. The Danish racer was demoted to test and reserve driver at McLaren for 2015 to make way for returning Fernando Alonso, and then released at the end of the year.
An unsuccessful 2016 with Renault followed before Magnussen was snapped up by Haas for the following season to partner Romain Grosjean.
And come 2018, the American-owned outfit were enjoying some very good performances in Formula 1 as they battled away at the front of the midfield pack. They ended the season P5 in the Constructors’ World Championship, their best showing to date, and Magnussen had 56 points to his name.
But as the year approached its end came an important decision. Daniel Ricciardo had shocked Red Bull by announcing he would leave for Renault, and so with Pierre Gasly ready for a Red Bull promotion that left a vacant seat at Toro Rosso.
Magnussen has said in the past the team reached out to him over a potential deal, and in an interview with Danish outlet B.T. he has now confirmed he did not enter negotiations because at the time staying with Haas seemed the better career move.
“When we spoke to them, it quickly became clear they had a candidate for the Red Bull seat (Gasly) but they mentioned there would be a vacancy at Toro Rosso,” said Magnussen.
“It was not a case of them submitting a contract or anything like that, but it was clearly an option.
“We chose not to pursue the opportunity because I felt really good at Haas and believed we could continue the positive development we had through 2018.”
Sadly, 2019 proved to be the start of a decline for Haas, with Magnussen departing the team at the end of the 2020 campaign.