© Getty Images

F1 2016 Driver Review: Kevin Magnussen

Leave a comment

Kevin Magnussen

Team: Renault
Car No.: 20
Races: 21
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: 7th (Russia)
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 7
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 16th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

K-Mag returned to Formula 1 full-time in 2016 with Renault, snapping up Pastor Maldonado’s seat at Renault after the Venezuelan’s funding fell through. Expectations were high, with most seeing this as a second chance for the Dane following his one-year stint with McLaren in 2014, but he was ultimately hamstrung by circumstances at the team.

2016 was always going to be a year of rebuilding for Renault, with the R.S.16 car offering little in the way of development from the 2015 Lotus. Nevertheless, Magnussen managed to claim a hugely impressive seventh-place finish in Russia, avoiding chaos at the start and holding on to his place in the top 10. Only one more point followed in Singapore, leaving him with a final total of seven for the season.

While disappointing in terms of points, Magnussen did significantly outperform teammate Jolyon Palmer through the first half of the year. It will be interesting to see if he can finally come good in 2017 when he moves to Haas, partnering Romain Grosjean.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Renault’s youth-only lineup of Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer, in a first-year factory reboot effort after its past run as Lotus (which was Renault before that), didn’t inspire much confidence going into the year.

Magnussen’s second F1 campaign wasn’t near as good as his first one. Other than an opportunistic drive to seventh at Russia, there were few highlights to be found. Instead, Magnussen’s only real memorable moments came with his accident at Spa – he was OK – and his car’s fire in the pits in Malaysia.

This was an interesting dynamic for Magnussen in that he theoretically should have been team leader, but already has left after one season with Nico Hulkenberg coming on board next year. At best case, Magnussen will learn from Romain Grosjean at Haas in 2017, and be able to score more points. He’ll also have the unique note of having run all four V6 power units in as many years – Mercedes, Honda, Renault and next year Ferrari – once he takes the green at Melbourne.

F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.