'Even the pope had an offer' - Magnussen on rejecting Renault

Kevin Magnussen explains why he decided not to stay with Renault next season, with a move to Haas F1 expected to be confirmed imminently
'Even the pope had an offer' - Magnussen on rejecting Renault

Kevin Magnussen says the reason he decided not to stay with Renault next year was because he didn't feel the team was committed to him, joking they "offered the drive to so many others and I think at one point the pope had an offer".

Magnussen is now expected to switch to Haas next season in a potential two-year deal - as reported on Wednesday - with the move set to be made official imminently.

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"Yeah, it was my decision [to leave Renault]. I had an offer, but it was not a good enough offer that I could take it," Magnussen explained ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

"It was more the feeling of commitment from Renault's side [that was the reason for leaving]. If they had committed to a longer contract then I would have probably looked at it much more seriously. It was more the feeling of them not committing, offering the drive to so many others and I think at one point the pope had an offer! It was a bit messy, so it's better for me to leave."

Pressed on if he needed to feel wanted, he added: "Exactly. [As I said] it really is a lot about the feeling I had with the management here. If I felt more commitment and decisiveness it would maybe have been different, but I'm happy the way it turned out at the end of the day."

Asked if Renault explained why it took so long to make a decision and why they had discussions with other drivers, Magnussen replied: "They didn't even tell me they were. More openness would have been good. But it is how it is and I have enjoyed my season with the team and I think it really is a great team.

"I love the people here and they have all been so friendly and they are very good as well, and I'm sure if they get the resources and the structure in place they can do the job. So there is sadness with leaving the team as well, I'm going to miss a lot of the people here. Hopefully we can keep in touch and luckily we will be in the same paddock next year. It's not all bad."

"Sometimes it's [just] a bit difficult to know who is actually in charge here and who will make a decision. But that doesn't matter now and it's in the past," he added.

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Quizzed on the expected move to Haas, Magnussen confirmed his new team should hopefully be more competitive than Renault in 2017.

"Competitive wise? I think it could be better and obviously I hope it will be better. I think it will be competitive, that's my feeling."

"There is obviously nothing announced yet. There is nothing official about what I am doing next year, so I can't really answer that question [about why I signed for Haas].

"[But] I hope I can announce my plans this weekend, yes."

Meanwhile, Haas F1 team boss Guenther Steiner has also confirmed the American squad should be in a position to name its drivers' this weekend.

"Almost! Almost! Hopefully this weekend. Hopefully we will announce something this weekend. There are still a few things we need to talk to people about and then we will announce who our drivers we will be," he stated.

"It's just the little work when you get close to doing a deal [that is holding it up]. It's the same as like when you buy a car, in the end you want a free carpet or something new. We are in that stage at the moment."

"Over a period of time there was quite a few [options for 2017]. You always try to see how far you can get or who will come. What you have to understand is that we are still a young team, the confidence in us... someone needs to understand that and want to be with us," he continued. "We had a good start but then we dipped a little bit, we've got ups and downs, we need to sort them out. So not everyone wants to come but we wanted to speak and get the best we could get. That's what you always want to do if you want to grow a team and we genuinely want to get better. This is the message we want to say to the racing world.

"There is [also] more than one reason why you change driver, is it money? Is it you want to do better? There are so many reasons. Do you need to change a driver? It's not easy, we're in quite a unique spot at the moment where some people want to come, some people don't want to come. It is fairly difficult to do it and that's why it took us longer than I thought it would.

"There was interest from people I would have thought, six months ago, would not have been interested. They all speak with you but they say 'thanks, but no thanks', we are all civilised people and we need to talk to keep these things going.

"There was quite a lot of interest and some talks went on, some stopped, and then new ones came in. I hope, as much as you guys, that we get it done as soon as possible because I'm quite tired of the process and speaking about it. I'd rather have it done."

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