Gene Haas, eponymous owner of the incoming Haas F1 team, has revealed Kevin Magnussen was in line to join the team had it not secured Romain Grosjean as its lead driver for the 2016 season.
The former McLaren driver made a positive impression during his maiden F1 season with the team in 2014, only to be bumped from its line-up in the wake of Fernando Alonso's signing and Jenson Button's retention.
Spending the 2015 season on the sidelines in the hope of being promoted to a McLaren race drive for 2016, the decision by the team to re-sign Button has subsequently seen Magnussen released from his contract, though his F1 options are now limited to a seemingly unlikely deal with Manor.
Indeed, it is known Magnussen had held exploratory talks with Renault, but Haas says he was also high on his list of options to lead its burgeoning campaign for 2016, only for him to lose out to Grosjean and the well backed Esteban Gutierrez.
“We talked to Magnussen, who was a very good candidate,” he told F1.com
. “He was very well respected by the McLaren team. In fact if Romain had declined we would have taken Magnussen as the primary seat."
With Manor now Magnussen's only F1 race drive option for 2016, his chances of landing such a drive will likely depend on whether he can bring significant backing. In the meantime, the Dane has been invited to sample Porsche's 919 Hybrid LMP1, suggesting he is being targeted as Nico Hulkenberg's replacement in its Le Mans line-up, while the former FR3.5 champion has also been linked with IndyCar drives.