Magnussen: I’m as ready for Formula 1 as you can get

22 October, 2013

Kevin Magnussen claims he is ready for the big time

Kevin Magnussen claims he is ready for the big time

Two pole positions and two race victories provided Kevin Magnussen with the perfect sign-off to his stunning championship-winning season.

The newly crowned World Series by Renault title winner, and one of McLaren’s Young Driver hopefuls, has utterly dominated the junior series, continually tightening the grip on the championship with a string of stunning results towards the season’s conclusion.

Understandably, after such a strong year, all eyes are on the young Dane’s future.

“I’m very proud about my record in 2013,” says Kevin. “Now the aim is for Formula 1 next year. That’s what I’ve been aiming at for a long time. The time is now – I’m as ready as you can get.”

Don’t mistake his self-assurance with arrogance, though. There’s a streak of steely determination that runs through Kevin’s veins – but his is not the table-thumping fire that you see in some drivers; it’s more of an utter assurance with his abilities that gives him a zen-like calmness.

Kevin Magnussen on duty for McLaren during the F1 Young Drivers Test at Silverstone,

Kevin Magnussen on duty for McLaren during the F1 Young Drivers Test at Silverstone,

Get beyond the slightly wary smile and engage the 21-year-old in conversation, and you’ll be left in no doubt that he knows what is coming to him.

At the start of the year, that singular focus was directed towards winning the World Series by Renault title. WSR, as it’s commonly known, is one of Formula 1’s principal feeder series, providing wannabe grand prix drivers with gobfuls of power and downforce, and a calendar that takes in a smattering of classic European racetracks. Like its GP2 counterpart, this really is a mini-F1.

Like GP2, race weekends are run as double-headers – so, with a maximum of 50 points available at each race meeting (WSR also follows F1’s scoring system), having an off-weekend can have a disastrous impact on title hopes.

This was something Kevin quickly twigged. Going into his second year in WSR (he won a race and finished seventh in the 2012 championship), he openly admitted that overall consistency was his highest priority for 2013. It was perhaps a sign of his self-confidence that Kevin didn’t consider raw pace his most immediate concern, reasoning that speed was already fully under his control.

Formula 1 beckons for Kevin Magnussen

Formula 1 beckons for Kevin Magnussen

Unsurprisingly, he was right on each count, “At the start of the season, I set out with the aim to be consistent everywhere,” he says. “I really wanted to win the title through consistency. Looking back at my year, I’m extremely proud that I was able to realise that ambition.

“Really, I don’t think I had a bad weekend all season. Of course, I had weekends when I wasn’t the fastest – but I still got points. In fact, I got a podium at every race weekend – with the exception of Monaco, when I finished fourth.”

Like any true racing driver, Kevin knows that the backbone of his challenge was provided by his team, DAMS, who supplied a supple and consistent car with which Kevin could excel.

He adds: “I must say a big thank-you to the team – they gave me a car that was extremely quick at every single race. That was incredibly important, and really underlined my ambition to be consistent.

“I think the last two race weekends were the most satisfying for me,” he continues. “I dominated every single session (Kevin took four pole positions and four victories in the last four races, albeit losing one victory due to a car irregularity), so I was completely on top-form for those weekends.

Kevin Magnussen is 2013 World Series by Renault champion

Kevin Magnussen is 2013 World Series by Renault champion

With the dust now settled on the WSR title fight, Kevin’s focus now switches to Formula 1. Fellow McLaren Young Driver Stoffel Vandoorne also underlined his credentials by finishing as series runner-up.

He is characteristically unambiguous about his intentions:

“Whenever I’m asked about Formula 1, I always reply that, yes, I feel ready. I look at this way: I’ve done everything I could to prove myself in World Series – now it’s up to somebody else to make a decision.”

Given his determination, is he prepared to take a side-step, and train as a Formula 1 test-driver for 2014 ahead of a race seat for ’15?

Again, the reply is unequivocal: “No, I need to race – that’s when I can fully prove myself.”

Champions don’t accept second-best… (McLaren)

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  • Rebel

    I hope McLaren stop wasting their time with Perez and sign Magnussen in his place.
    Signing Magnussen would be the best decision McLaren could make since signing Hamilton for the 2007 season.
    If I was McLaren I would keep Button on for another year at least as a benchmark.
    That would give them a good picture of Magnussen’s abilities relative to Button, Perez and Hamilton.

  • Rebel

    McLaren – please don’t sign Sergeslow Perez for 2014!
    A year of him is enough!

  • Spartacus

    +1.

    Perez, although a nice guy, hasn’t been quick enough. Worse, he’s shown no development during the year. He’s at his peak.

    McLaren have a choice to make. Sign up another journeyman driver or take on a rookie and accept they’ll be mistakes during the year. One safe option, one a bit of a gamble.

    If Magnussen has achieved what’s in this story then the question really is if he can step up to being a full time F1 driver without spending time testing. Given how little testing is done there’s not that opportunity either. I’d arrange a test with him in a two year old car, therefore a legal test, and see how he copes. Put him in the simulator to see if he can process the data being fed to him. And if he does ok then sign him for next season.

  • Hmmm

    Magnussen have already had a pretty impressive young drivers test this yaer
    and also tested in 2012.

    So he is ready for a full time race seat and McLaren knows that.

  • Boycottthebull

    I agree with the other comments here. Time to get rid of “Push ‘em off to Pass Perez” and move this guy up. Does he need more testing in an F1 car? His current championship winning car is probably no slower than what McLaren F1 are using this season.

  • lawl

    Perez has outqualified Jenson many times. Now everyone claims Perez is slow but not the slow a** crappy car… yeah right, if thats true, wheres Jenson? fighting Vettel and Fernando? lol, hes been 2 tenths faster or slower than Checo every race. Hypocrites.

  • haha

    Spartacus, despite his great year at Sauber I think you’re right. I even see progress in Esteban Gutierrez which I didn’t expect. He could be the better Mexican next year if given the chance, even Hulk was surprised that he upped his game that much. Now everyone screams Perez out and last year tou were all screaming that Ferrari was dumb to let him go from their academy, which is it now?

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