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Magnussen says Haas healthier, happier team to work for

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Kevin Magnussen says that the smaller, newer team of Haas is a much better and healthier place to be.

The 24-year-old Danish driver has previously driven for McLaren and Renault, which are both much larger and more long-established outfits.

"It's a much healthier environment for a driver at Haas," Magnussen said this week. "At least that is my experience, than my previous experiences where I was in big teams - big companies in fact - that were struggling in the sport.

"When you're in a place that is struggling, the pressure is huge on a driver. I came in with very little experience, brand new in McLaren, which is a very big team," he recalled. "The pressure was immense."

Magnussen took over from Sergio Perez - himself a short-lived replacement for Lewis Hamilton - at McLaren in 2014. Although he finished in second place in his race début in Melbourne, he failed to finish on the podium again all season.

After McLaren signed Fernando Alonso, Magnussen reluctantly took a test and development role in 2015. When Alonso suffered a concussion in testing, Magnussen replaced him for the season opener. However by the end of the year relations with the team had grown frosty. He was let go by then-team CEO Ron Dennis in an email.

Magnussen was hired to race for Renault in 2016, but his best result was seventh place at Sochi. He left the team at the end of the year amid an acrimonious exchange of words in the media. He subsequently joined Haas, where he has finished twice in the points in seven races to date.

"I feel this is a lot less pressure here, but very, very high motivation," said Magnussen of his current team. "It's a much happier place to be.

"In Formula 1, there can be this kind of pressure where someone has to be blamed and the driver is easy to blame," he explained. "Sometimes we are to blame, but not always, and it can be tough in certain situations.

"I would like to be under more pressure but only if it was because I was fighting for pole or wins," he added.

One thing that is certainly making a difference for Magnussen is not having to worry about where he will be next season. He has a multi-year contract with the American squad, allowing him to focus on long-term development.

"It's nice not having to talk about negative subjects like not being chosen for next year," he said. "I can go into races and enjoy and do what I do best - I'm in a very good place."

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