This is great news for the Magnussen family, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Formula Renault 3.5 who can boast the Dane as their 2013 champion. The feeder series is growing and the importance of this deal, cannot be stressed enough.
As a response to my 2013 World Series by Renault duties with Crash.net, many of you have asked for my opinion and whether I think Magnussen is ready for such a step; not that you are likely to be surprised by the answer.
In short, Magnussen is ready and another year spent in a feeder series would be of no significance or use to him.
Marussia has appeared to be the most logical step for some; indeed some rumours linked him to the seat of Max Chilton. However, a move of this kind is not hugely necessary. The Toro Rosso-Red Bull setup is largely new when considering its structured and organised driver training concept. A seat at Marussia would be better than nothing but not a necessity for developing his Formula 1 potential.
Take the career of Lewis Hamilton as a prime example of this. Jumping from GP2 to the McLaren in almost effortless style in 2007, the Briton proved that teams taking a risk and an almighty leap of faith can work in their favour. It did not take long for him to be crowned world champion. Give Magnussen a worthy car (please?) and he will rarely be far from contention. After all, McLaren know how to develop drivers and entice the best in the world to their models. Of course, the credentials must be right but with an impressive CV to his name, the announcement of the Dane as a Formula 1 driver is not surprising. In fact, it is well deserved.
Upon entering the Formula 3.5 season, three names were considered and discussed at great length by myself and my peers covering the Formula 1 feeder series. At the bottom of this pile was Kevin, whose name was somewhat forgotten amongst the expectations of Stoffel Vandoorne and Antonio Felix da Costa. This was a mistake; we should never underestimate Kevin Magnussen and his consistency. To beat out Vandoorne to the championship, shows that McLaren’s hierarchical structure of young drivers is correct.
His one lap pace was unrivalled, his performances an obvious mark of a champion and his times in testing have been on par with Perez, Button and their ever-faithful test driver, Gary Paffett.
There is something about Kevin Magnussen, be it his poise or his typical laid-back, Scandinavian attitude, which makes him a worthy Formula 1 contender. It’s almost an aura, one I have witnessed briefly this year – as weird as that may sound.
“See you in Monaco next year, maybe?” was my, not so subtle, way of getting this information from him during an informal chat at the season finale in Spain.
“You must know more than me”, he responded with a playful grin, one which was met with laughs from those around us.
For Magnussen, this news will not be hugely shocking but nonetheless, a relief. By claiming this seat at McLaren, he has overcome one of the most challenging demands on young drivers – to get noticed.
Alongside the experience of Jenson Button, this seems like a prime opportunity to bring the Dane into the spotlight. After all, he is bound to still be dizzy with excitement from his thrilling Formula Renault 3.5 title win which should bring poise, confidence and assertiveness to his driving. Well, in theory anyway.
I am hugely excited for him and cannot wait for everyone to see the talent I have been harping on about all year.
As for Sergio Perez, he has two more races to prove that he is worthy of a 2014 seat.
Click here to see Kevin Magnussen’s official press release.
‘Future Stars’, the Kevin Magnussen edition.