Magnussen left F1 at the end of 2020 after Haas failed to retain him.
The Dane moved to sports car racing, only to make a shocking return to Grand Prix racing with Haas this year after Nikita MazepinThe contract was canceled after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the termination of the sponsorship agreement with Uralkali.
Magnussen made the perfect start to his comeback season with a fifth place finish at the opener in Bahrain and has led Haas’ efforts so far this year.
“I’ll still have to pinch myself,” Magnussen told Motorsport.com ahead of the summer break.
“It’s such a big deal to become a Formula 1 driver. That’s one of the things that I really started to understand last year when I wasn’t in it.
“When you see from the outside … you realize how many people are watching it and how many people are talking about it during the race weekend at home. So I started to really appreciate it, and I was blown away by how big it was.
“Then to come back to it, I appreciate it a lot more to be in every race. I pay attention to how many spectators there are and how big they are.”
Although things have been much tougher since then, with eighth place in Austria his next best result, Magnussen said he felt vindicated in his decision to take up Haas F1 boss Gunther Steiner on his offer to return to the team.
Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22
Photo: Andy Hone / Images of motor sports
Brand new rules for 2022, which promised change among teams, played a role in Magnussen’s decision.
“I think if it wasn’t for all of this with the new regulations and if Haas were where they were last year and the regulations continued like that for another five years, I probably would have hesitated,” Magnussen said. .
“But I did see it as an opportunity. There were no guarantees, Gunter made no promises. But he explained what they’ve done and how they’ve focused over the past couple of years.
“When I was here even in 2020, it was already clear that this would be the plan. So I was excited about it, and I thought, yeah, this could be good.”
To accept his place at Haas, Magnussen had to cancel his sports car contracts with Peugeot, Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing – and in all likelihood be allowed to continue competing regularly.
Chances of victory in Formula 1 that have eluded him since his debut with McLaren stayed fit with Haas in 2014, but Magnussen said he has no regrets.
“I’ve said many times that last year was one of the best years of my life,” Magnussen said.
“I was excited to get back to fighting for pole position and winning races every weekend. But there is only one Formula-1. Nothing else is like Formula 1.”