Formula 1 has been blown away by Haas’ fairytale result at the Bahrain Grand Prix with attention turning to the turmoil that saw Kevin Magnussen replace Nikita Mazepin at the eleventh hour.
Magnussen drove his Haas to finish fifth in Monday morning’s race — something that would have seemed a pipe dream just a few weeks ago.
Magnussen was only signed up to join the team two weeks ago as a late replacement for Mazepin.
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Mazepin, the son of Russian billionaire tycoon Dmitry Mazepin, was sacked as the team made a sudden decision to drop Dmitry’s company Uralkali as the team’s major sponsor.
The writing was on the wall after Haas decided to remove its sponsors colours during testing in Barcelona following the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. The team’s livery was dominated by the same blue, red and white colours of the Russian flag.
Dmitry Mazepin was among a group of businessmen that met with Russian president Vladimir Putin earlier this month to discuss NATO sanctions.
Mazepin found out about his sacking when a press release was sent out to the world.
Uralkali announced it would launch legal action over the sponsorship money it already paid for the 2022.
The team appeared to be headed for disaster.
However, it has turned out the exact opposite.
Haas stunned the F1 grid on Monday with Magnussen scoring the team’s first championship points since 2020. The team did not record any top 10 finishes in 2021.
Magnussen’s fifth-place finish picked up 10 championship points for the team, while Mick Schumacher finished 11th — just one place short of picking up some points.
It would have been a hard race to watch for the Mazepin family.
The tycoon businessmen poured millions into the Haas team to make it competitive again — and it seems the team has finally come good, just a few weeks after getting rid of its Russian connections.
On the other side of the coin, was the sheer joy in Magnussen’s return and Haas’ surprise performance.
Haas’ performance across the weekend showed it was no fluke with Magnussen also qualifying seventh.
“The craziness just continues,” Magnussen said.
“We had a really good race and the car was good all the way through.”
He also said he was “lost for words” after the race.
Team boss Guenther Steiner couldn’t wipe the smile from his face.
“A very good day for us today, it’s good to be back for the whole team,” he said.
“They’ve done a fantastic job, not just today but for the last two years. Everyone kept their head high and just got ready for the moment that we would have a good car. When that moment came, everyone did their part and I’m very proud of them, and they can be proud of themselves.”