Magnussen a good benchmark for Schumacher, says Haas F1 boss

Kevin Magnussen’s return to Haas will give teammate Mick Schumacher a chance to measure himself against a proven quantity and make the German a better driver, team boss Guenther Steiner said on Friday.

The US-owned team announced on Wednesday that it had re-hired the Dane on a multi-year deal after severing ties with Russian racer Nikita Mazepin and his father’s potash-producing title sponsor Uralkali following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 29-year-old Magnussen, who finished on the podium in his debut race with McLaren in 2014, is an experienced veteran.

He also knows the Haas team well, having raced for them from 2017 until the end of 2020.

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โ€œAbsolutely,โ€ Steiner told Reuters at the Bahrain pre-season test, when asked if Magnussenโ€™s signing offered Schumacher, the son of seven-time world champion Michael, a chance to prove his abilities.

โ€œBecause if he beats Kevin, that means something. Competition is good to get better. Itโ€™s like in a business, competition is good. If youโ€™re the only one itโ€™s too easy almost and then you wake up one morning and youโ€™re not around anymore.”

Schumacher, who is part of Ferrari’s driver development programme, made his Formula One debut last season in an all-rookie line-up with Mazepin.

But the 2020 Formula Two champion, was often running his own race.

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He outperformed Mazepin but was unable to challenge the rest of the field, with Haas finishing last overall without scoring a point after choosing not to develop their car.

Placed by Ferrari to learn the ropes at the American team, who source their power units and some other parts from the Italian manufacturer, he will be expected to make a step up in performance this year.

Outperforming someone of Magnussen’s calibre will boost his career prospects.

“I think Mick is happy to have somebody to learn from and to have a benchmark,” said Steiner.

“We can see where he is and also he can improve. Itโ€™s a benefit for him as well because (he has) an experienced driver looking at data, (he will be) working with somebody who knows this car from driving very similar cars for six years. Itโ€™s very good.”

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