After Haas terminated Nikita Mazepin’s contract in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Magnussen was offered a call-up to make a surprise return to F1 with Haas after a year out. 

Steiner said Haas was met with “a lot” of interest over the spare seat but confirmed Magnussen was the only driver the team officially talked to after quickly deciding he was the obvious first choice. 

“When what happened, happened, we parted company with Nikita, I was discussing with Gene who to put in the car, who’s available,” Steiner explained. “The same old story, ups and downs and lefts and rights. 

“Kevin’s name came up, and Gene said do you think Kevin would come back? And I said I have no idea, I don’t know, but I can call him up and I called him up, and he said yeah, I’m interested.”

Magnussen previously raced for Haas between 2017 and 2020 and Steiner believes the Dane’s experience and knowledge of how the American outfit operates will prove a valuable asset, especially with the short turnaround before the season start on March 20.

“I think there are a few advantages here, having him, he was here in the team [before],” Steiner added. “We have got only a week before the first race actually. He knows the team, he’s well respected. He knows his way around. 

“I think it’s good for Mick as well to have a reference, because he has been in Formula 1, he did six seasons, all these things came together, and then we said I think he’ll be the best choice. 

“But at that time, I didn’t know if he was available or if he wanted to drive, and even if he wanted to drive, I didn’t know if he could drive, because he had contracts in place and I didn’t know the details of his contracts. But then it went pretty smooth.” 

Magnussen is due to drive the VF-22 for the first time during Friday's second session at Bahrain.