November 5, 2015 / 12:21 AM / 4 years ago

Haas would have signed Magnussen if Grosjean said no

McLaren Formula One driver Kevin Magnussen of Denmark looks on during the drivers parade before the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 15, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Dadswell

LONDON (Reuters) - The new Haas Formula One team would have offered former McLaren reserve Kevin Magnussen a race seat for 2016 if Frenchman Romain Grosjean had not accepted it, owner Gene Haas said on Wednesday.

“We talked to Magnussen, who was a very good candidate,” the American told the website. “He was very well respected by the McLaren team.

“In fact if Romain had declined we would have taken Magnussen as the primary seat.”

Magnussen, 23, raced for McLaren in 2014 and was reserve this season. He was told on his birthday last month that the team had no place for him.

The Dane now looks sure to leave Formula One, with tailenders Manor the only team still to confirm drivers for 2016.

Ferrari-powered Haas, the first U.S. owned team since 1986, are making their debut next season with Grosjean and Mexican Esteban Gutierrez.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Greg Stutchbury

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