Rookie Report – Magnussen

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Kevin Magnussen has had a sharp rise through the junior series through his short career to date, having started in Formula Ford in Denmark with a stellar debut season the stats certainly don’t lie as Kevin put himself on pole 6 times and set 10 fastest laps but most importantly he won 11 of the 16 races on his way to sealing the championship, he won the championship in his debut season by 17 points and the way in which he did it made it very clear that the young Dane was well on his way to greater things.

In 2009 Kevin moved on from Formula Ford and raced in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC category and again impressed a lot of people with the way he was able to adapt to a new car and was on the pace from the start, although being beaten to the championship by Antonio Felix Da Costa, Magnussen still was a constant presence on the podium finishing there 12 times in the 14 races with a race win included in that, he also set two pole positions which again outlined his speed over a single lap.

In 2010 he raced in the ATS Formula 3 Cup alongside the likes of Daniel Abt and Tom Dillman, despite Kevin finishing 3rd in the championship, it was another season full of regular podium finishes with 8 over the course of the 18 race season, he secured three wins and was only 24 points away from winning the title, Kevin also had a spell in Formula 3 Euro Series taking part in two races, one of which he actually won, it was the first time that Magnussen had come up against future F1 stars like Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez and in no way did he look out of depth and again made many people take notice of his talents.

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In 2011, Magnussen took part in British F3 for the Carlin team and as he had done throughout his career adapted to the new series and car remarkably quickly, qualifying on pole 6 times and winning 7 races over the course of the season to end as runner-up behind Felipe Nasr but the talent was clearly there and it was starting to become more a matter of when than if he made the step up to Formula 1.

2012 saw Kevin enter Formula Renault 3.5 and whilst he had to settle for 7th in the championship, he was still progressing very well and outperformed his Carlin team-mate Will Stevens quite comfortably, Magnussen took 3 pole positions and 3 podiums with one of those being a race win, at the end of the season he took part in the Formula 1 Young Driver test at the Yas Marinas Circuit in Abu Dhabi and he stole the show and produced a 1.42.651, which was the fastest time of the entire three days of testing and was only 2 seconds shy of the pole lap set in the same car by Lewis Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi race weekend, not bad for a young man who was making his first appearance in an F1 car, the sheer speed of Magnussen impressed the paddock and McLaren technical director Sam Michael said “His pace, consistency and engineering feedback were all excellent, Given his performance, he certainly didn’t look like a guy who had never turned a wheel before in a modern F1 car before the start of the week.”

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Magnussen was now preparing for his second season in FR3.5 and had moved to DAMS in order to improve his chances of challenging for the title and he produced a great season winning 5 races along with sticking his car on pole 8 times and getting on the podium 13 times as he claimed the championship by 60 points from fellow McLaren backed young driver Stoffel Vandoorne, whilst winning the title he also was involved in the efforts of McLaren to try to turn around their poor season by carrying out simulator work in the MTC. As a result of this poor season from the McLaren team, Sergio Perez was released after just one season at the team and the young Dane was given the call to replace him for 2014, A massive sign of trust and belief in Magnussen from the bosses at Woking, after all the last time they had put a rookie in their car was Lewis Hamilton in 2007 and of course Kevin’s father, Jan Magnussen in 1995 as a replacement for the sidelined Mika Hakkinen

So, fast forward to Jerez for the pre-season tests and the spotlight was on the Dane, not that anyone could tell that by the way he drove, putting in the fastest lap on his first day of testing, the signs of the talent that he possesses have always been clear and I think that he will be a huge success in the sport, Good Luck Kevin.

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