As a rookie stepping into one of the top seats in Formula One, Kevin Magnussen is under no illusions about the challenge he’ll face at McLaren in 2014.
The Dane seems to have the right attitude, though, as he has basically been preparing for this role for nearly 20 years.
“McLaren has been part of my life since I was a small kid,” he said in a feature posted to the team’s official website. “My dad, Jan, was a test driver here and did one grand prix with the team back in 1995, but I’ve always dreamt about driving for McLaren. It’ll be incredibly special to be in the car as a racing driver – with the Magnussen name on the side.”
Magnussen is spending the entirety of the winter working with engineers, mechanics and trainers at McLaren’s Technology Center. It’s already been a long process, but Magnussen has sunk his teeth into it.
“Now that I’ve got the race seat, I’m fully focused on the work ahead of me. This winter will be all about preparing myself for the first test in January, and the first race in March. It’s about spending time with the engineers, driving the sim, and getting used to everything. It’s a lot of hard work – but I’m really enjoying it.”
Team members are optimistic that throwing a rookie into a situation with such new rules might actually play to Magnussen’s advantage.
“But this is a brand new formula, so a rookie isn’t as disadvantaged,” said McLaren sporting director Sam Michael. “Even if it doesn’t necessarily give Kevin an advantage, the advantage of all the other drivers is diminished because everyone’s starting from the same benchmark.”
Lewis Hamilton set the bar dramatically high for McLaren rookies, coming just one point shy of the 2007 World Championship. Although McLaren endured a challenging 2013 season, the uncertainty of how teams will master the new regulations may change the playing field.