Kevin Magnussen says he is "determined to justify the faith" that McLaren has put in him by giving him a race seat for 2014.

McLaren opted to replace Sergio Perez with Magnussen at the end of 2013, meaning the team will run a rookie driver for the first time since Lewis Hamilton in 2007. After setting the fastest time of the first F1 test at Jerez, Magnussen admits it still feels surreal to be driving for McLaren but that he is fully focused on proving his worth to the team.

"I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity I've been given, and in a way it still hasn't really sunk in yet," Magnussen told the official Formula One website. "When I got into the car for the first time at Jerez last Thursday, in fact, it still felt a bit strange. But I'm a firm believer that there are no guarantees in this world, so I'm now focusing on the work I need to do to justify the privilege of being a Formula One driver.

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"I certainly don't take anything for granted - I know that all the work I did in the junior formulas was only enough to get me to the door of Formula One - and now I'm having to start all over again to prove that I deserve the opportunity to stay here. In the past few weeks, and in the next few weeks also, working closely with all the McLaren guys who've given me that opportunity, I'm determined to justify the faith that's been put in me."

With McLaren having endured a poor 2013 which saw the team fail to score a single podium, Magnussen believes he'll be fully prepared to get the most out of the car supplied to him this year.

"Okay, I'm a rookie, but I'm not going to focus too much on worrying about what I can't control. Besides, even for the most experienced drivers, there's always another lap you can do to feel more prepared. So my aim is to work hard, get myself comfortable with the car - comfortable enough that I can really push it and lean on it - and then take it from there.

"Anyway, I've got total faith in McLaren's engineers and mechanics, and it's clear that they're offering me the right guidance and assistance. They're all great guys. Lastly, I don't think anyone can predict with much confidence what's going to happen in the opening races, whether you're a super-experienced world champion like Jenson or a rookie like me."