F1 2014 Driver Review: Kevin Magnussen

3 Comments

Kevin Magnussen

Team: McLaren-Mercedes
Car No.: 20
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 1
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 55
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 11th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Kevin Magnussen was meant to be the next big thing in Formula 1, having warranted the sacking of Sergio Perez after just oen season at McLaren. The Dane lived up to the hype on his debut, finishing second behind Nico Rosberg in Australia, and suggested that experienced teammate Jenson Button may not have it all his own way in 2014.

However, this proved to be the highlight of his season. He did manage to finish in the points on 12 occasions, but Magnussen rarely troubled the front-runners. Sure, the McLaren MP4-29 car gave him little chance of doing so, but the gulf in points to his teammate – 126 to 55 – is cause for concern.

Magnussen was solid if unspectacular this year, and is now waiting on a decision from McLaren to see if he will be retained. If it wants to build for the future with Honda, K-Mag is the man for the job. However, in terms of true ability and experience – and who will score more points in 2015 – Button should get the nod.

That said, it would be a shame for Magnussen to be shelved after just one season. He may not have set the world on fire this year, but he definitely deserves more than just one season to prove his worth.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Jan Magnussen’s son Kevin seemed to meet a lot of well-timed criteria at the start of the year. He’d be making his debut in a Mobil 1-backed McLaren-Mercedes as his father did in 1995, when both those partnerships began. But after an impressive preseason and an absolutely perfect debut Grand Prix in Melbourne, things never were as rosy again for the talented Dane the rest of his rookie year.

Teammate Jenson Button held the edge in race results and points, as could have been expected, but also in qualifying, where Magnussen was probably seeking to gain the upper hand. Consider how his fellow rookie Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso got the better of Jean-Eric Vergne on Saturdays more often than not and that seemed to stand out. Magnussen had few true “wow” moments, but he had several decent qualifying efforts.

The one area he must improve on in 2015 if he gets a chance to continue is maintaining his race position on race day. Magnussen ended better than he started in only six of the 18 Grands Prix he finished this season, and his fall from regular points scores brought McLaren down to a battle with Force India for fifth. His first year had its high points, and you could see him grow in the level of a Valtteri Bottas with more seasoning, but his promise wasn’t fully realized on the whole in 2014.