Kevin Magnussen is one of the drivers who will be absent from the 2021 Formula 1 grid, with the former Haas F1 Team and McLaren F1 Team spending his 2021 in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship as a member of Chip Ganassi Racing.
The Haas F1 Team he had been with since 2017 will be going ahead with an all-rookie lineup of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. However, things could have turned out differently for Magnussen. He has revealed recently that an offer was on the table for him to stay in Formula 1 for 2021 if he was willing to move to another team.
Magnussen has been somewhat scant on the details regarding this offer to remain in Formula 1. Whilst no particular team was named, the Danish driver did quip that it was for a team “not better than Haas“. This is something he is quoted to have said in an interview with the Danish magazine Dossier.
As you’d expect, the speculation has kicked into gear regarding what team Magnussen was talking about. It’s not particularly hard to guess at which team he was talking about, either; Williams finished in tenth and last place in 2020 with no constructors’ points whatsoever (the first time in the team’s history that this has happened) whilst Haas finished tenth.
If it really was Williams, Magnussen clearly understands the implications of being a bit too open about the team’s nightmarish 2020 season; he definitely had his tongue fairly in cheek when he remarked that “I can not say who it was, because maybe someone is angry.“
In the same interview with Dossier, Magnussen added that “although I had a chance to stay in Formula 1, I did not have the motivation to continue that way. I would have liked to continue if I could have won with any of the big teams.” A big theme of Magnussen’s career is that he was just never able to really break into a big team in F1.
Whilst his initial second place finish with McLaren back in 2014 was a spectacular debut in the sport, he never quite lived up to those expectations ever again as it remains his only F1 podium to this day.
“It’s hard to know how things are going to go,” Magnussen told Autosport earlier this year. “When I started my F1 career in Melbourne 2014, I had pretty high expectations. I thought I was going to be fighting for the championship in my first year after that first race. You can’t ever predict how things are going to go in Formula 1. You’ve just got to do the best, and enjoy it while it lasts.“
Would Magnussen have benefited out of taking an offer from Williams? Quite possibly. The team will be using more Mercedes components in its cars from 2022 and the budget cap will theoretically enable the Grove-based outfit to become more competitive. As with anything speculative, however, we’ll never truly know.