Even The Pope Could've Been Renault's Next Formula One Driver

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Current Renault Formula One driver Kevin Magussen is jumping ship to Haas in 2017. Renault may have been able to nail down 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Nico Hülkenberg fairly quickly in the silly season, but they waffled so hard on the second seat that Magnussen joked that even the Pope had an offer.

Renault confirmed that Jolyon Palmer would stay with the team this week, however, Magnussen told ESPN that he was also offered the seat. He just didn’t feel like Renault’s management was all that committed and sure in their choice when they made that offer, telling ESPN:

Yeah, it was my decision. I had an offer [from Renault], but it was not a good enough offer that I could take it.

It was more the feeling of commitment from Renault’s side [that made up my mind]. 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.


Personally, I’m a little disappointed that Palmer got the seat over the Pope. We need more really, really old guys in the car, and that’s a serious step up from the Popemobile.

Renault’s effort to upgrade their driver list had them trying to lure several drivers into a banana yellow mid-to-back-field car, including Sergio Pérez and Carlos Sainz Jr., per ESPN. Magnussen and Palmer were left in the dark over their future with the team when Renault announced Hülkenberg. Magnussen told ESPN:

They didn’t even tell me they were offering [the seat to other drivers]. More openness would have been good as well.

Sometimes it’s a bit difficult to know who is actually in charge here [at Renault] and who will make a decision. But that doesn’t matter now and it’s in the past.

Perhaps Magnussen learned something from McLaren stringing him along for so long, because he got the heck out of Renault this time.

Magnussen will take the place of Esteban Gutiérrez at Haas F1 and drive alongside Romain Grosjean. Haas is only one place ahead of Renault in this year’s constructors’ championship, but they’ve fared significantly better despite being a brand new team for this year. In other words, this looks like an upgrade for K-Mag. #NeverGiveUpOnTheDream, indeed!


[H/T Rasmus!]