Kevin Magnussen goes into what could be his last F1 weekend believing it is much harder in the current era for a kid to make their racing dream come true.
The Dane is leaving Haas after four years, along with Romain Grosjean, because the team needed a cash injection from drivers able to bring substantial sponsorship revenue.
Rookie duo Mick Schumacher, son of Michael, the seven-time World Champion, and Nikita Mazepin are their replacements. Schumacher has the name and profile to attract significant commercial backing, while Mazepin is the son of a billionaire businessman.
Magnussen has never enjoyed such financial support, having to rely on sheer driving talent, despite being the son of an ex-F1 driver, Jan, himself.
And the 28-year-old thinks that if he had been born a quarter of a century later, it would have been far more difficult to achieve what was always his life’s ambition.
“If I was four years old now and dreaming about Formula 1 where I came from, it wouldn’t have been easy,” said Magnussen.
“Now, I think it’s very difficult to make it to Formula 1 if you’re not from a super-rich family.
“I was from a normal family – my dad was a racing driver but we weren’t rich. My dad was in karting when I was born and I still made it to Formula 1 just by wishing for it and dreaming about it, and I got some amazing help from people around me and support that meant I was able to make a career in Formula 1.
“I think I can be super-happy about that and pleased I was able to get this opportunity and realise my dream that I had as a kid, and there will be some happy memories and feeling good to think about that.”
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) December 10, 2020
Ironically, it looks as though Magnussen’s F1 career will have peaked in his very first race, when he finished second for McLaren in the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. He has never again been on the podium since.
Rather than being too sad about leaving the paddock, he is instead focusing on the next phase of his career – switching to sportscar racing in North America for 2021 with the highly successful Chip Ganassi Racing team.
“It will be emotional on Sunday when I say goodbye to all the guys, our last race together, and I’ve had a great time with Haas,” said Magnussen.
“They have all been super-nice over the four years I’ve been with the team and I’ve become good friends with many of the guys. It’s always sad to say goodbye to people you like and enjoy spending time with, so that will be the saddest part.
“But I’m really looking to what’s ahead of me, with Ganassi in IMSA next year with the target of winning championships, winning Daytona, winning Sebring, winning Petit Le Mans. That excites me so much.
“I’m more just looking forward really, not because I haven’t enjoyed being in Formula 1, just because I’m excited about what’s ahead.”