McLaren have today confirmed the news that Kevin Magnussen will replace outgoing driver Sergio Perez for 2014. He will partner Jenson Button, who remains with the team for his fifth season.
Magnussen, who won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship this year, joined McLaren in 2010 as part of their young driver development programme. He has since driven in the simulator and took part in the Young Driver Test for McLaren in Abu Dhabi last year, and again at Silverstone this year. He had been due to take part in the GP2 test in Abu Dhabi last week but was pulled out at the last minute, leading to intense speculation surrounding the possibility of him progressing straight to Formula One.
And now the move has been confirmed. Magnussen said: “I’m absolutely overjoyed to be making my Formula One debut with McLaren. I’ll put it simply: this team is the best. It’s been my dream to drive for McLaren ever since I was a small kid, and it’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve dedicated almost every day of my life to achieving the goal of becoming a McLaren Formula 1 driver”.
Team Prinicipal Martin Whitmarsh was equally as enthusiastic about the signing, stating: “We’re delighted that Kevin will be joining Jenson as a McLaren Formula 1 race driver for 2014. Their confirmation is an important step for us as we continue to strengthen our organisation ahead of the 2014 season.”
“Kevin is clearly very talented and very determined,” he continued. “We therefore have high hopes for him. Moreover, every time he’s tested our Formula One car, he has been very quick and very methodical, and his feedback has been first-class. Furthermore, the manner in which he won this year’s World Series by Renault 3.5 Championship was truly outstanding, showcasing as it did not only his impressive natural pace, but also his increasing maturity and ability to structure and manage a championship campaign.”
The Magnussen name was first linked with McLaren back in 1995 when Kevin’s father Jan stepped in for an unwell Mika Hakkinen at the Pacific Grand Prix.
Today’s news also confirms that Button will remain with the team, although that was widely expected to be the case. In his 75 races for McLaren he has won eight times, had 25 podium finishes, one pole position and six fastest laps. He made his Formula One debut back in 2010 and so has a wealth of experience.
“Jenson’s race-winning speed, intelligence and racecraft have long been a crucial advantage to McLaren,” Whitmarsh stated. “But it’s his skill as a development driver and his peerless technical feedback that will be equally valuable as we make the transition into a new and complex technical formula during the winter and new year.”