Jenson Button has welcomed Renault's decision to hire former McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen as part of its 2016 F1 line-up, and expects the Dane to make the most of his second chance in the top flight.
Magnussen was unceremoniously released from his McLaren contract towards the end of the 2015 season - receiving email notification from the team on his birthday no less - allegedly because he had failed to live up to the targets set out for him. The former FR3.5 champion racked up 55 points in his one season at Woking which, while admittedly half the total Button achieved, was still a reasonable tally for a debutant. However, with 2015 GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne waiting in the wings, McLaren clearly thought it could do better in lining up a replacement for the time its current veteran partnership of Button and Alonso dissolved.
Just as an endurance or touring car path looked likely for Magnussen, however, financial concerns over Pastor Maldonado's deal with Lotus/Renault provided an unexpected opportunity for the Dane, who had tests lined up in both the WEC and DTM as he looked to prolong his international career. With the Venezuelan out of the picture, Magnussen slotted in alongside rookie Jolyon Palmer in time for the pre-season tests in Barcelona.
"I texted him before he had the drive because I had a feeling," a prophetic Button claimed, "I think it's great for him to be back in the sport.
"He's a very talented driver and deserves to be here - and he is very quick. He's also gained a lot of experience - when we were team-mates he learnt a lot very quickly and, last year, he spent a lot of time watching Fernando and myself, being involved. He's a very experienced driver for his age, and for the experience he's had racing in F1. I think he'll do a very good job - and I hope he does."
With both McLaren and Renault looking to re-establish themselves amongst the F1 elite after difficult spells, the chances of the former team-mates meeting on track are great, but Button admits that taking on an ex-colleague will be nothing new.
"It's the same as anyone else," the Briton insisted, "I've had a lot of former team-mates. I've been racing for 17 years and I think I've had eleven team-mates - I've had four in the last four years - so I'm pretty used to that."
Magnussen suffered an opening lap puncture on his way to finishing twelfth in the Australian Grand Prix, while Button's race was marred by poor tyre strategy as he finished a lapped 14th.