Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen to leave Haas at end of the 2020 F1 season

Jack de Menezes
·5 min read
Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will both leave Haas at the end of the season (Getty Images)
Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will both leave Haas at the end of the season (Getty Images)

Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen have both confirmed they will leave the Haas F1 team at the end of the 2020 season.

In what looks set to be the Frenchman’s departure from the Formula One grid after nine years in the sport, Grosjean announced his exit on Thursday morning.

The 34-year-old issued a statement on Facebook to confirm that his five-season spell with the American team will end once the current season concludes.

Confirmation quickly came of Magnussen’s departure too, with the Dane issuing his statement on Twitter to announce that he has not been retained for the 2021 season, meaning Haas will go into the next campaign with an all-new driver line-up.

Grosjean joined Haas from Lotus back in 2016 when the US team - owned by Nascar Cup series team owner Gene Haas - joined the F1 grid, but he has struggled for form in recent seasons and currently sits down in 18th in the drivers’ championship, with just two points to his name that were secured last time out at the Eifel Grand Prix.

The 2011 GP2 champion said that despite losing his seat at Haas, the “journey was worth it” in helping the team develop within the sport, with the Frenchman securing their best ever result back in 2018 when he finished fourth at the Austrian Grand Prix.

“The last chapter is closed and the book is finished,” Grosjean said in a statement posted on his Facebook profile. “I've been with the Haas F1 Team since day one.

“Five years during which we went through highs and lows, scored 110 points in 92 races, but the journey was worth it. I've learned a lot, improved to be a better driver as well as a better man.

“I hope I’ve also helped people in the team to improve themselves. This is probably my biggest pride, more than any of the crazy first races in 2016 or the P4 at the Austrian GP 2018.

“I wish the team all the best for the future.”

Kevin Magnussen followed Romain Grosjean in announcing his Haas departureReuters
Kevin Magnussen followed Romain Grosjean in announcing his Haas departureReuters

Magnussen’s statement came soon after Grosjean’s, with the 28-year-old former McLaren driver yet to decide where his future lies - whether that be in F1 or elsewhere.

“The 2020 Formula One season will be my last with Haas F1 Team,” Magnussen said.

"I have had a great time with the team for four years and I look back at a great journey. Being part of a brand new team has been a challenge that I have thoroughly enjoyed and it has brought me a huge amount of experience that has helped me grow and develop as a racing driver.

"I would like to thank Gene, Guenther (Steiner)and all of the race team for their loyalty and trust in me over the past four years. I am still working on my plans for the future, which I will announce in due course.

“There are still six races to do this season, and I am determined to give my all to finish off on a high. Thank you all for your support.”

The exits open two seats on the 2021 grid, with Mexican Sergio Perez on the market after his drive with Racing Point was taken by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel next season following his Ferrari exit. Another name in the frame is Britain’s Callum Illott, who was due to drive the Haas during Friday practice at the recent Eifel Grand Prix before the session was agonisingly washed out. His Formula Two championship rival Mick Schumacher, who like Illott is signed up to the Ferrari Driver Academy, is also pushing for a move up to F1, although he is likely to join Alfa Romeo next season.

Nico Hulkenberg, who has stood in for both Perez and Lance Stroll at Racing Point this season due to illness, is also in the running, as is a third F2 Ferrari Academy Driver in the shape of Robert Shwartzman, Schumacher’s current teammate at Prema.

Haas, who rely on Ferrari power units, have slipped down the grid since hitting a high of fifth place in the world championship standings in 2018 after finishing the last two seasons in ninth. But team principal Steiner paid tribute to the work both Grosjean and Magnuseen have put in for the team, and stressed they will be missed at Haas.

Steiner paid tribute to Grosjean’s effort in helping the team to become established on the F1 gridAFP via Getty
Steiner paid tribute to Grosjean’s effort in helping the team to become established on the F1 gridAFP via Getty

“I want to extend my thanks to both Romain and Kevin for their hard work and commitment to Haas F1 Team over the past few seasons,” said Steiner.

“Romain was a fundamental part of our establishment as we sought to get a driver onboard with both speed and experience. His results in early 2016 were a just reward, not only for his own talent, but also for the sheer amount of effort the team had put in to be on the grid that season.

“When Kevin joined a season later, we saw an immediate return with both cars scoring points, and of course, our first double points finish in Monaco that year. We have a lot of good memories together – in particular our 2018 season when we finished fifth in the standings in only our third season. Romain and Kevin played a significant part in that success.

“Of course, there is still plenty of racing left in the 2020 season. It’s been a challenging year, no doubt about that, but both drivers have given their all behind the wheel of the VF-20. We value their inputs and experience to keep pushing the team forward through to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December.”

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