Kevin Magnussen says he would turn down the offer of a return to Formula 1 for anything other than a race-winning team.
The former McLaren, Renault and Haas driver ended his first spell in F1 at the end of 2020 with just one podium to his name after spending his Haas stint battling with an uncompetitive car. Since then he has won in IMSA and twice challenged for the Rolex 24 at Daytona win, and he says all of his future plans will be dictated by racing in categories where he has a chance to fight for victory.
“The rest of my career will be only racing with a hope of winning,” Magnussen told RACER. “Whatever I do, I’m not going to go into anything if I know I can’t win, never again.”
Asked if that means he wouldn’t go back to a midfield F1 drive if offered, Magnussen replied: “No, I’ve been there, done that.
“It was a great experience, I love that I was able to do it, I dreamed about Formula 1 ever since I was a little kid, so I really do feel privileged to be able to fulfill my dream and be there and actually have a career in Formula 1. I was there for seven years and I enjoyed it most of the time, but sporting-wise, as an athlete it wasn’t rewarding enough to be in the position I was in.
“It’s really good to be here (in the U.S.) and have that spark back. You can go into every weekend and you can smell blood, and it just gives an extra sort of energy that I haven’t had in a while.”
Despite becoming a father for the first time in early 2021, Magnussen said he’s open to opportunities in any series, with IndyCar still on his radar after a one-off appearance for McLaren last year.
“It was really good timing in terms of that, having our child in January last year, straight after the F1 season,” he said. “I am really happy to have had that first year with (my daughter), with that much time, it was really really good timing and I’m so happy that happened.
“I still did a fair bit of racing, that IndyCar race came up two days before and I jumped in. I knew it was going to be difficult, with no testing and first practice is your first time in an IndyCar, on a track that you never raced on before and stuff like that, but it was one of those things where I didn’t want to say no. I knew it was going to be difficult, but I thought, why not?
“That’s the fun part of this chapter of my life, I can just kind of have fun with what I’m doing. I don’t need to be doing anything, I just do it because I love racing and have a good time.
“I’m looking at everything. One day I wake up and think ‘Ah, Dakar is pretty cool!’. You know? That’s the beauty of it, motorsport is fun. There’s not anything I don’t want to do really.”
However, the 29-year-old admits he faces a balancing act as to which categories he can target alongside his existing commitments, with his Peugeot Hypercar project set to make its race debut at Le Mans this year.
“It always limits you,” he said. “Whatever I do, I want to commit. Winning is the main focus and the main priority. To win in these things that I’m doing, you can’t do it with your left hand, you know? You need full focus and full commitment. I don’t want to do things by half, but we’ll see what the future brings. I’m still fairly young and hopefully have a lot of years in motorsport left where I can hopefully realize some of my motorsport fantasies.”