Gene Haas has revealed that McLaren reserve driver Kevin Magnussen was his next pick for a seat at his Formula 1 team in 2016 had he failed to sign Romain Grosjean.
NASCAR team co-owner Haas stated from the very beginning that he wanted to sign experienced drivers for 2016, and has achieved exactly that with Grosjean and Gutierrez, who bring a combined total of over six seasons of grand prix racing to Kannapolis.
Grosjean’s signing has drawn praise from most corners due to the Frenchman’s impressive showings in F1 over the past three seasons, marking something of a coup for a rookie team such as Haas.
However, had Grosjean not been signed, Haas has revealed that he would have signed McLaren reserve driver Kevin Magnussen upon his release from the British team.
“We talked to Magnussen, who was a very good candidate,” Haas revealed to the official F1 website.
“He was very well respected by the McLaren team. In fact if Romain had declined we would have taken Magnussen as the primary seat.”
Magnussen raced for McLaren in 2014 before taking up a reserve role after Fernando Alonso’s arrival at Woking, leaving him largely on the sidelines in 2015.
Last month, it was confirmed that Magnussen would be released by McLaren at the end of the year, leaving him on the look-out for a new seat.