Following earlier reports linking Magnussen with the switch, F1i has learned a deal was agreed at the end of last week which is set to see the Dane move from Renault and team up with Romain Grosjean at Haas next season.
Magnussen has been kept waiting by Renault as the French manufacturer weighed up its options regarding a partner for Nico Hulkenberg, who last month signed a deal to join the team from Force India. However, having already extended the option on his contract to allow Renault more time to make a decision, Magnussen appears set to take the offer of a multi-year contract with Haas.
It was believed Magnussen was in the frame for a seat with Haas during its debut season but was overlooked due to a lack of experience having only spent one year racing for McLaren prior to joining Renault earlier this year.
While Grosjean has a contract for 2017, Esteban Gutierrez‘s future has been uncertain and it became increasingly likely the Mexican would not be retained by Haas when there was no decision made by his home race two weeks ago. Gutierrez will now turn his attentions to the remaining vacant seats on the grid, with Force India, Renault, Sauber and Manor all yet to confirm their full line-ups for next season.
Felipe Massa says he is targeting a return to the podium at the upcoming Brazilian Grand Prix, with the Williams driver expecting an “emotional” weekend for his final home race before he retires from Formula One.
Hailing from Sao Paulo where the historic Autodromo José Carlos Pace is located, Massa is preparing to sign off an impressive career in the top flight that has brought him 11 wins and another 30 top-three finishes so far.
“Interlagos is home,” said the 35-year-old ahead of the event. “It’s the place where I grew up. It will be emotional racing there for the final time on such an amazing track.
“I’m looking forward to enjoying every single lap and hopefully I can manage to finish the race with a good result.”
Massa has enjoyed much F1 success at Interlagos, though the place will for ever remain associated with the nail-biting 2008 title showdown when he came tantalisingly close to sealing the Drivers’ crown but earned as many plaudits for the way he handled defeat in a truly gracious manner.
“I have won twice at there, and have finished on the podium many times over the years and I hope we can get another one. It won’t be easy, but I will do everything I can for my people and for Brazil in my last race at home.”
Besides his 2006 and 2008 victories for Ferrari, Massa stood on the Interlagos podium in 2007 and 2012 (still with the Scuderia), and in 2014 during his first season at Williams.
The 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix could be a Grand Prix of firsts for the Mercedes drivers. Lewis Hamilton could win his first-ever Brazilian Grand Prix OR Nico Rosberg could win his first-ever Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship. Let’s hope the ‘best driver’ wins. In which case, shouldn’t it then be Fernando Alonso?
We’re loving the suspense and surprise of this season’s title fight and don’t mind it going down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. After all, there’s finally some surprise in the sport other than Max Verstappen! Unless, of course, you’re Robbie Williams.
Will the German be able to race in Brazil without thinking of the Drivers’ Championship? He’s made the ‘race-by-race’ approach work, to date. We’re sure that mind games will be at their absolute best. And as tough as it will ever be, we try and settle this whole ‘Does Nico Rosberg deserve the Drivers’ Championship?’ debate.
Let’s remember, by saying that someone was ‘lucky’ to win a Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship, that too in its longest season ever, might be belittling the title in itself!
What are your thoughts on the F1 title climax?