Kevin Magnussen says he didn’t realize how much he missed Formula 1 until Haas offered him the chance to return this season.

Haas terminated its contracts with Nikita Mazepin and title sponsor Uralkali last week, and turned to Magnussen to replace the Russian driver. While Magnussen was due to race for Chip Ganassi Racing at Sebring next weekend and was also tied to Peugeot’s Hypercar program — and had previously said he wouldn’t return to F1’s midfield — he says he hadn’t realized how he’d feel when offered the chance.

Speaking about drivers enjoying the ability to fight for wins in categories outside of F1, Magnussen admits: “I said that! When I left Formula 1.

“I think I could have stayed in Formula 1 in a different team if I really wanted to. It would have been messy with a lot of sponsors and stuff like that, but I didn’t really have the motivation. I don’t know… I ran out of motivation to be running around at the back. But I’d only done that for two years — previous to that I’d always been in the midfield and that’s actually really fun.

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“Just those two years were tough and I ran out of motivation a little bit to do that. Then I went away, did some other racing, got podiums, pole positions, wins, and that was all really fun and I was enjoying it, but then Guenther called me and ruined all that!

“I could just feel in my stomach that, ‘I want to do this.’ I can feel it. I didn’t know that I missed it that much but when I got the opportunity I was like ‘Yeah!’”

Magnussen praised both Ganassi and Peugeot for letting him take up the F1 offer, confirming he did not have a clause in either contract that would allow him to do so.

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“Guenther called me about a week ago. I was just about to go to the U.S. with my family for a bit of holiday before Sebring, and I decided to go because I was like, ‘Nah, let’s see if it happens or not.’ So then I got to Miami and Guenther called back and said, ‘OK, let’s do it.’ So I traveled back here!

“There was a lot of stuff that needed to be sorted out. Of course I was contracted to Peugeot and Ganassi. I was contracted to race with Ganassi at Sebring in the 12 Hour race next weekend, so he was super nice to let me out of that deal … None of the guys that I was committed to had to let me go.”

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