Kevin Magnussen Reveals a Shock Interest from Toro Rosso in 2019

Published 04/04/2021, 1:10 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 10, 2020 Haas’ Kevin Magnussen during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


Kevin Magnussen is out of the pinnacle of motorsports. The Dane drove for Haas last season, before being replaced, along with Romain Grosjean. However, a different sequence of events could have seen him driving for Red Bull instead!

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Back in 2018, Daniel Ricciardo decided to leave Red Bull and signed with Renault. This left the garage next to Max Verstappen vacant for the 2019 season. So, Kevin Magnussen and his associates inquired about this racing seat –

“When we spoke to them, it quickly became clear that they had a candidate for the Red Bull seat. (Pierre Gasly, ed.)”

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Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 11, 2020 Haas’ Kevin Magnussen during practice Giuseppe Cacace/Pool via REUTERS

As you can see, it was much after Red Bull had chosen to promote Pierre Gasly from Toro Rosso. Naturally, this also left the seat at their sister outfit open. So, they discussed this possibility with the Danish driver. Appearing a guest on TV3’s Formula 1 studio, he told BT –

“But they mentioned that there would be a vacancy for Toro Rosso. It was not a question of them submitting a contract or the like, but it was clearly an option.”

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen in action during the race Pool via Reuters/Luca Bruno

Why did Kevin Magnussen reject Toro Rosso?

Toro Rosso had also decided to let go of Brendon Hartley, that’s why both the seats were vacant. So, Red Bull were scrambling to fill those seats up and asked Magnussen to join hands with them.

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However, the Dane just had the best season of his career with Haas. The American outfit finished in 5th place in the 2018 constructor’s standings. They were much ahead of Toro Rosso in terms of performance, especially on the engine side.

“We chose not to pursue the opportunity because I was really happy with Haas and believed that we could continue the positive development we had through 2018,” said Kevin Magnussen.

Formula One F1 – Eifel Grand Prix – Nurburgring, Nurburg, Germany -Haas’ Kevin Magnussen during a press conference ahead of the Eifel Grand Prix FIA/Handout via REUTERS

In hindsight, that turned out to be a poor decision from Magnussen. Haas dropped to ninth place in the 2019 standings, while Toro Rosso bagged a couple of podiums. Looking at the current scenario, the new rebrand AlphaTauri is looking even sharper on the grid. So, it was a decision that Magnussen may not want to look back on.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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