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Magnussen seeking bigger things following shift to Haas

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Kevin Magnussen says he is grateful for the opportunities he has already experienced during his three-year Formula 1 career, but is chasing bigger and better things following his move to Haas for 2017.

Magnussen finished second on debut in Australia with McLaren back in 2014, but was ousted at the end of a tough season to make way for Fernando Alonso.

Magnussen spent a year in a reserve role at McLaren before being drafted in by Renault for 2016 as a late replacement for Pastor Maldonado.

Magnussen scored seven of Renault’s eight points in 2016 as the French manufacturer began to rebuild after taking over the cash-strapped Lotus operation and returning to F1 as a constructor.

Despite being offered a deal to stay at Renault for 2017, Magnussen opted to jump ship to Haas and replace Esteban Gutierrez, who was dropped by the American team at the end of its debut season.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Haas’ NASCAR shop in Kannapolis, North Carolina earlier this week, Magnussen spoke about the difference in approach he has already noticed compared to that of McLaren and Renault.

“This is a new team starting from scratch. It has a lot of potential,” Magnussen said.

“It can grow a lot and from the starting point. The starting point wasn’t so bad, scoring nearly 30 points in the first year.

“Renault and McLaren are very established teams. McLaren is probably the most established of them two, with massive budget and loads of people and resources.

“Renault, that was a new team, not completely new but the beginning of Renault again. They took over Lotus which was drained of resources. They didn’t have a lot of money and were struggling before Renault took over.

“All three very different experiences I am sure.”

Magnussen said he was grateful for the opportunities afforded to him by both McLaren and Renault in F1, but added that he intends to spend more than a single season with Haas.

“I feel very lucky to get the chance in F1. McLaren supported me very well in my time before Formula 1 and I learned a huge amount there,” Magnussen said.

“Since then I’ve been lucky to have some chances to race in Formula 1. I’ve been with three different teams in three seasons. My intention is to stick with this team a bit longer than one year.

“I’m in a great place right now and I have a really good opportunity to take myself to an even better place with Haas. I’m just really grateful for the opportunity I have right now.”

However, Magnussen does not feel he has anything extra to prove in F1 despite his early-career struggles with McLaren and Renault.

“I feel really good about my situation right now and the place that I’m in right now. Not many get the chance in Formula 1 at all.

“I’ve been with three different teams. I don’t feel so lucky about that, but I feel extremely fortunate to live my dream and go for my target which is to be a world champion in Formula 1 one day.

“I feel I can achieve that dream on the path that I am on now.”

F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.