Despite the circumstances that led to his promotion to a full race seat, McLaren believes that Kevin Magnussen has the weapons in his locker to make ain impact in F1.
There was little doubt that the new World Series by Renault champion deserved a shot in the top flight, but McLaren had, ideally, hoped that he could do his learning elsewhere before returning to Woking in the future. However, when plans to second the Dane to a rival fell apart [ see separate story
], McLaren took the radical step of cutting Sergio Perez to pair the rookie with Jenson Button for 2014.
Magnussen is already gearing up for his maiden grand prix season by spending the winter preparing with his engineers, mechanics and trainers at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, aware that the days and hours spent now could dictate form at the start of the season.
“McLaren has been part of my life since I was a small kid,” the Dane said, “My dad was a test driver here and did one grand prix with the team back in 1995, but I've always dreamt about driving for McLaren. It'll be incredibly special to be in the car as a racing driver – with the Magnussen name on the side.
“Now that I've got the race seat, I'm fully focused on the work ahead of me. This winter will be all about preparing myself for the first test in January, and the first race in March. It's about spending time with the engineers, driving the simulator and getting used to everything. It's a lot of hard work – but I'm really enjoying it.”
Magnussen is no stranger to application as, a year ago, he set himself some steep goals in order to step up a gear in the WSbR. According to McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale, that decision allowed the youngster to benefit remarkably from his most recent single-seater season.
“During 2013, Kevin really knuckled down,” Neale explained, “He started to show all the attributes that, in due course, will make him a great driver.
“To win in the World Series, you have to be an all-rounder: you have to be able to work well with your engineers, understand the technology, and also be tenacious; be able to go through the inevitable upsets and come out on top.