October 5, 1992
|Career statistics to end 2013|
Looking back on McLaren’s 50th year in F1 – one of their worst – you might be surprised by what rookie Kevin Magnussen said when his signing was announced.
“I’ll put it simply: this team is the best,” said the young Dane, whose father Jan made his own F1 debut in a McLaren in the Pacific Grand Prix in Japan in 1995.
“It's been my dream to drive for McLaren ever since I was a small kid,” Magnussen Jr. continued, “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.”
Kevin has gone about it in a very structured fashion. Karting was followed by Formula Ford, in which he was Denmark’s champion in 2008.
That led to Formula Renault 2.0, where he was runner-up to Antonio Felix de Costa (recently announced as test and reserve driver for Red Bull in 2014) in the Northern European Cup.
A year later Magnussen was in Formula 3 in Germany, a category in which his father was truly outstanding. Finishing third overall after winning the opening race at Oschersleben, Kevin then switched his attention to the UK, where Jan was a brilliant champion in succession to F3 greats like AyrtonSenna himself.
Runner-up there too, he then moved up to Formula Renault 3.5. In 2012 he was seventh overall for Carlin, winning on the hallowed ground of Spa-Francorchamps.
But in 2013 Kevin Magnussen had his own break-out year. Switching to DAMS, he won five races and was on the podium on 13 occasions as he swept to a superbly controlled championship victory.
A member of the McLaren Young Driver Program, Magnussen is already wise enough to understand that the big changes for 2014 could work in his favour.
“It’s a good year to come into F1,” he maintains. “The fact that I won’t have as much experience as some of the other drivers actually counts a little bit less – of course, it’s still going to require a lot of hard work – and I’ll have a lot to learn – but so will everyone else, so that’s a positive for me.”