McLaren confirm Magnussen will replace Perez

2014 F1 season

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, Bahrain, 2013McLaren have confirmed they will replace Sergio Perez with rookie Kevin Magnussen in 2014.

Magnussen, 21, won this year’s Formula Renault 3.5 championship in emphatic style, taking five races wins along the way and losing another on a technicality. He also impressed the team during his Young Driver Test appearance for them at Silverstone in July.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said Magnussen was “clearly very talented and very determined, and we therefore have high hopes for him”.

“Moreover, every time he’s tested our Formula One car, he’s been very quick and very methodical, and his feedback has been first-class.

“Furthermore, the manner in which he won this year’s [Formula] 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.”

Magnussen said he was “absolutely overjoyed” to be making his debut with McLaren and vowed “I won’t let you down, guys.”

“I’ll put it simply: this team is the best,” Magnussen added. “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 One driver.

“I have an enormous amount of respect for everyone at McLaren, and I want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to everyone, but most of all to Martin and his senior colleagues, for giving me this chance.”

McLaren rarely promote rookie drivers to their race team. Magnussen is the first to have the chance since Lewis Hamilton in 2007.

Before that the last driver to make his race debut for McLaren was Magnussen’s father Jan in the 1995 Pacific Grand Prix, substituting for an unwell Mika Hakkinen. It was a one-off drive, though Magnussen later spent a year and a half racing for Stewart.

Whitmarsh also added his thanks to outgoing driver Perez, who he said “has developed well during a difficult season, as his recent run of points-scoring finishes underlines”.

“He’s a lovely guy and a fine driver – fast and combative – and I’m sure he’ll build on that firm foundation in 2014,” added Whitmarsh. “All at McLaren wish him well for the future.”

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89 comments on McLaren confirm Magnussen will replace Perez

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  1. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 14th November 2013, 13:37

    Told ya so :) I only hope Mclaren can build a decent car now, more so, get their team back together to offer him an opportunity

  2. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 14th November 2013, 13:42

    We will see how this goes. Magnussen’s own father is an example of a driver who swept all before him in the junior formulae, but flopped when he got to F1. But Button will be a good mentor and a great yardstick for Kevin.

    • But Button will be a good mentor

      If McLaren keeps taking drivers with limited experience, Button has a change for a long career with the team :-).

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 14th November 2013, 18:58

        Lewis was pretty good against a 2xWDC who happens to be the best of his generation. Kevin has less mileage than rookie Lewis but I think he can give Button reasons to be concerned…

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th November 2013, 14:30

      Pretty much that. And this press release does not sound all that different from the great exitement they had at signing Perez either, so lets see how it pans out @red-andy.

      On the other hand, at least someone is giving a promising driver a chance. And where better to find your feet than in a mid grid team, eh!

    • Do you know anything about Kevin’s upbringing though? Do you realize that Jan was of much more talent than devotion and that he taught his son all the disciplines he lacked himself from the moment Kevin showed an interest in cars.

      Kevin is a very different breed compared to his father and doesn’t deserve direct comparison. It is not a joke or exaggeration when Kevin says he has been devoting almost every day of his life to reach this goal.

      There are a vast amount of circumstances that determines a drivers success in F1 and whether or not Kevin makes it far there is no doubt that this is the type of super-devoted youngster it will take to give Vettel a run for his money.

  3. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 14th November 2013, 13:44

    One Word: Awesome.

  4. ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 14th November 2013, 13:47

    Greats new – very happy for him and the team.

  5. Diceman (@diceman) said on 14th November 2013, 13:49

    While the season itself has been pretty boring, the Silly Season has been probably the best and most exciting ever. Can’t wait for 2014.

  6. Hope he goes further than his Pops.

    • Bog Racer said on 14th November 2013, 14:46

      His ‘Pops’ deserves more credit. He’s a damn good sports car racer. Multiple ALMS championships and Lemans 24 HRS podiums are not achieved by a slouch.

      • That is true and though there is no doubt about Jan’s talent he probably didn’t handle his F1 career as well as he could have. When he was young he more or less believe that his talent could take him anywhere. Enter F1; and all of a sudden you are up against guys that lives and breaths their sport and to whom everything they do is designed to improve their odds. I think Jan realized too late how tough the game was in the big league.

    • Jan was awesome. He probably did not fit into the era he competed in and would have been much more suited to 80’s F1. From what I remember, he was rushed in with too little experience also…………

  7. Lewis McMurray (@celicadion23) said on 14th November 2013, 13:55

    Feel bad for Perez, he maybe could have done with another year but i’m happier for Magnussen than I am sad for Perez. I’ve been watching him for a couple of years and he really does have the right stuff. Raw ability only gets you so far and Magnussen has the other side of the coin – mental strength and commitment – nailed too, so he’s ideally suited for F1. Provided McLaren get their act together and produce a good car Magnussen will do very well.

  8. mantresx (@mantresx) said on 14th November 2013, 13:55

    This team is the best

    Ha I remember Pérez saying the same and look how it turned out.

  9. Shame for Perez as I didn’t really think he did anything wrong as he was pretty quick, matching Jenson pretty much. Everyone keeps raving about this guy so we’ll see. Good luck to him

    • ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 14th November 2013, 13:59

      I kind of understand the sentiments of people feeling bad for Perez, but there was a lot of hype for him in 2012. The general consensus was that people expected him to beat Button, and he didn’t do that.

      I would say i’m surprised, though. Teams usually stick with guys for two seasons. Not often you see someone turfed out after one, generally speaking.

      • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 14th November 2013, 14:07

        Having poached Perez out of Ferrari’s development scheme, McLaren may have been concerned that another team would snap up Magnussen if they delayed getting him into F1. They could have farmed him out to Force India or Marussia, of course, but maybe they felt that they could teach him more and monitor his development better this way.

    • Baron (@baron) said on 14th November 2013, 14:34

      Having half the points is ‘matching Jenson pretty much’ ? Don’t change your day job.

    • Sumedh said on 14th November 2013, 15:24

      matching Jenson pretty much

      And that exactly was his problem. He was supposed to beat Button, not match him.

      I think Mclaren (and me too) see Button as a solid no.2 driver. A driver who will drive the no.1 driver in the team but be wise enough to pay heed to the team’s interests. So, if the team is keeping Button, they obviously want someone who is the no.1. Perez was getting beaten by Button in qualifying!!
      By continuing with Perez, Mclaren would effectively have two no.2 drivers. Why would a team do that?

    • Perez was quick at some circuits….think his mistake was to try and run his team mate off the road a couple of times….before he had established himself in the team….and he seemed to be involved in all sorts of silly incidents throughout the season…..and when Whitmarsh starts to refer to Perez as Sergio and not Chico….your time is up

  10. Michael Brown (@) said on 14th November 2013, 13:58

    Hopefully he will be closer to Button than Pérez was, or McLaren will look even sillier

    • Baron (@baron) said on 14th November 2013, 14:32

      Sillier? But mightn’t it also mean Button is quicker than people think he is? Selective memories here. I’m not particularly a Button fan, but how did he become “Jenslow” in just one season? Something drop off?

      • Chris (@ukphillie) said on 14th November 2013, 15:58

        Button isn’t quick and never has been. He won his Championship in a car that was more dominant in the first half of the season than a Red Bull ever has been.

        Jenson has one thing to thank for his championship and one thing only. And when he retires, and his retirement ceremony, he should stand in front of the people and give a big thank you to the man that made it all happen….Mr Double Diffuser.

        • That’s just not correct. Jenson’s race pace is up there with everyone else and his race craft is probably the best actually, perhaps behind Alonso. So I don’t know what you’re on about.

          • @aced I do think Button is slightly underrated. I’d say he’s on a par with Rosberg, someone I also think is grossly underrated. And Button was brilliant in 2011, whilst Hamilton floundered spectacularly.

          • hunocsi (@hunocsi) said on 15th November 2013, 0:07

            @vettel1 I agree with you, he was the only driver in the field who could keep up best with Vettel, the others only had a few good races. His style is not aggressive to make him be on top for one lap, but his pace on race day is up there with the other champions.

        • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 14th November 2013, 22:25

          So, what can we expect Vettel to worship on his retirement? The Red Bull wind tunnel or Didi Mateschitz’s bank account?

  11. As a Dane, then Formula 1 will be followed more intensely than it is already being done. It is absolutely fantastic with a Danish Formula 1 driver who might have the talent to win the championship one day. Woohoo!

  12. Roald (@roald) said on 14th November 2013, 14:11

    Seen him race just a couple of times, but it’s always exciting to me when a rookie immediately gets a top-drive (I know they’re not currently). Ferrari should follow example instead of hiring drivers who they think are “experienced” enough. Since when has Ferrari decided against hiring rookies? Enzo Ferrari hired rookies himself, most notably Gilles Villeneuve.

    • @roald, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marciello would be promoted to Sauber rather than Marussia in a few years, maybe even Ferrari themselves, depending on Alonso being around.

      Post-Enzo, Ferrari has been suffering from selective memory. Like not hiring Italian drivers because of Capelli and holding on to Brazilian drivers for too long (Massa). Not to mention their odd reaction to Schumacher signing for Mercedes.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 14th November 2013, 18:16

        I have no doubt about Marciello possibility to make it to F1, the guy is talented, has already won the european F1 and he’s a member of the FDA, but he has to make a one final step before F1 i mean GP2 or FR 3.5, BTW he has been impressive in his first GP2 test in Abu Dhabi

        holding on to Brazilian drivers for too long (Massa)

        Since 2010 Ferrari were looking for a replacement of Massa, Kubica was a serious candidate for the 2012 seat but then he got injured, Roseberg refused an offer from Ferrari to join them in 2012 following his father’s advise, Button refused an offer from Ferrari to join them in 2012 and said he will never work with Fernando on the same universe, Webber also refused an offer to join the team in 2012, Hamiton admitted that he was having contacts with Ferrari for the 2013 seat but the will of Lauda/Ecclestone drove him to Mercedes and Vettel extended his contract twice the first expires in 2014 and the second one in 2015
        It is not Ferrari’s fault if the best drivers are not available

        • @tifoso1989

          Marciello…has to make a one final step before F1

          Hence I said ‘in a few years’. Lello is pretty young and had some troubled weekends this season, I think Ferrari will want him to get rid of weekends like the one he had in Zandvoort before getting serious about F1. He did look good in GP2 testing, but I don’t know how Ferrari feels about FR3.5 vs GP2. They had Bianchi in FR3.5 obviously, but I think in GP2 it’s easier to stand out amongst the paydrivers, maybe.

          Since 2010 Ferrari were looking for a replacement of Massa

          Which is why I was a little disappointed they only went for names like Rosberg, Button, Webber and Hamilton. It’s not Ferrari’s fault they aren’t willing or available, but I do think they could have looked beyond the above and taken on a driver who isn’t of the same level, but more consistent than Massa. It’s a shame Perez and Bianchi were too young/inexperienced to join, but with Bianchi, Marciello and Fuoco coming up, I don’t think Raikkonen is a long term solution either.

          Granted, Ferrari isn’t a good place for rookies to learn, but they signed Eddie Irvine before, so I’m sure they could have signed a guy like Sutil even.

          • In my second paragraph it should read ‘of the same level as Rosberg, Button, etc. Not ‘not of the same level as Massa’, because that would be going backwards.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 14th November 2013, 18:02


      Ferrari should follow example instead of hiring drivers who they think are “experienced” enough.

      Ferrari is another reality in F1 if you still didn’t noticed that, the amount pressure that surronds Maranello makes it absolutely impossible to hire a rookie, even a driver of the personality & caliber of Alonso himself when he critised the car he has been bashed publicaly by Montezemolo
      Ferrari is not a place to learining it’s a place for delivering the maxmum you can deliver
      I don’t know on what example are you talking about, McLaren !!!! come on Ferrari them selves said that Sergio wasn’t ready for a top team and now look what happened !!!
      It is true that Enzo was always gambeling on unknown drivers but that was Enzo ,the man had a 6th sense of descovering drivers just like Cus D’amato in boxing plus i can’t compare any of the rookies that are making their ways to F1 to the likes of Surtees,Lauda or Villeneuve

  13. Dane (@n0b0dy100) said on 14th November 2013, 14:14

    There seems to be a lot of hype around this kid as if he’s going to be the next Lewis. I’m hope people don’t get their expectations too high for him.

    • Lest he may end exactly like his predecessor. It is not like McLaren needed a change in line up. It seems like they needed to bring Magnusses into F1 at any cost – think about it, first brokering with Torro Rosso and now firing Perez to accomodate the rookie.
      Anyhow, despite feeling like many here that Perez deserves a second year in a competitive car, i think this will be a good opprutinity for Perez to learn how to overtake cleanly before coming back again. As for Magnussen, time will tell. And as for Ferrari hiring practices, well if they are ready to pay what they are paying to get a driver then i dont see why they must roll the dice at all. For the McLaren board this might make sense, they seem stingy. At this rate they will never get FA for 2014, becauses that means paying FA and breaking his contract. Ferrari will much rather have a driver sit out scraping the tires at a kings salary than let him race them, obviously.

  14. msoerensen (@msoerensen) said on 14th November 2013, 14:21

    As a Dane I am very much looking forward to this! It is simply amazing. I am literally jumping up and down in pure joy. Prepare for a danish invasion at many of the european circuits in 2014 just like it is at Le Mans year after year. :-)

  15. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 14th November 2013, 14:27

    I’m still baffled by this. Totally moronic decision in my opinion.

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