Kevin Magnussen: Dane to drive for Haas in 2017

Kevin Magnussen

Renault driver Kevin Magnussen is to move to the US-based Haas team for 2017, BBC Sport has learned.

The 24-year-old Dane is to sign with the outfit for two years with an option to stay for another season in 2019, sources close to the deal say.

Magnussen had wanted to stay with Renault for 2017 but decided to accept Haas’s offer after the French team delayed its driver choice.

He will join Frenchman Romain Grosjean at Haas next season.

Haas and Magnussen were unavailable for comment.

Magnussen will be heading into his third full season in F1 in 2017.

He raced for McLaren in 2014, scoring a second place on his debut in Australia, but was demoted to reserve driver in 2015, when two-time champion Fernando Alonso joined the team to partner Jenson Button.

McLaren dropped Magnussen at the end of 2015 but Renault rescued his career on the eve of this season after their contract with Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado collapsed as a result of unpaid sponsorship money.

Magnussen has been Renault’s most successful driver in a difficult season for the company following their takeover of the Lotus team last December.

He has scored seven points compared to team-mate Jolyon Palmer’s one and has out-qualified the Briton 12-7 in the 19 races so far.

But a couple of heavy crashes and the occasionally less-convincing weekend left the team vacillating over whether to continue with him.

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Rather than risk his future in F1, Magnussen has decided to join Haas.

Renault did offer to take up their option on him for one further year, BBC Sport understands, but Magnussen preferred the security of a longer-term deal with a team that more committed to him.

The team, who have close links with Ferrari, have done a solid job in their debut season and lie eighth in the constructors’ championship.

Their best result was a fifth place for Grosjean in Bahrain.

Magnussen’s decision leaves Renault with a number of options for their second seat alongside German Nico Hulkenberg, who signed for the team last month.

Palmer has an outside chance while others include Manor duo Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein, Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, whose Haas seat has been taken by Magnussen, and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr.

Palmer, though, is considered more likely to end up at Force India, where many of the other drivers mentioned are also in the frame.

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BBC Sport – Formula 1

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