For a 22-year-old to make his debut at one of the biggest teams in the sport must mean he has plenty of talent. The Hamilton comparisons will be written everywhere, and so they should be. Kevin Magnussen has been described as “very talented and very determined” by his new team principle Martin Whitmarsh and these are similar qualities boasted by Lewis Hamilton, who Magnussen hopes to emulate in his debut season.
Hamilton almost won the championship in his first year and the Dane has already spoken of going that tiny step further this year and becoming Denmark’s first F1 champion. McLaren’s new recruit hopes to bring back the glory days to the Woking team, who have put a lot of faith in the talents of the 22-year-old.
In replacing Sergio Perez, Magnussen will race alongside Jenson Button in what will be a thrilling sub-plot as the old takes on the new in a head-to-head battle. A new ear of F1 is approaching and Magnussen is seen at the strongest of the new batch of drivers.
Magnussen has good racing pedigree. His father, Jan, was also an F1 driver formerly with McLaren and Stewart. Magnussen hasn’t taken the contemporary route into the sport by going through GP2. Last season he won the Formula Renault 3.5 Feeder series championship, while he has also had past experience in Formula Ford and almost won the Formula 3 Championship in 2011, but narrowly finished second despite winning seven races.
Kevin Magnussen talks to the media
This isn’t a rash decision by McLaren. They have had their eyes on Magnussen for a long time and signed him as their development driver in 2012. He attended the Abu Dhabi young driver test and impressed McLaren who felt he looked at home in the car from the off, while he was the fastest McLaren driver at the Silverstone young drivers test in July. He is one of two drivers they believe are future world champions. The second, Stoffel Vandoorne, finished second to him the Formula Renault last season.
Magnussen also possesses the immense self-belief needed to become a success at a top team, further drawing comparisons with Hamilton. He has the aura that makes you believe he will be in F for a number of years to come, and, probably, near the top.