F1 2014 Driver Review: Kevin Magnussen


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.

NTT re-signs as IndyCar title sponsor in multiyear deal starting with the 2024 season

James Black/Penske Entertainment

The IndyCar Series has re-signed NTT as its title sponsor in a multiyear agreement starting in 2024.

NTT, a global information technology and communications company based in Japan, became the series’ title sponsor before the 2019 season after starting as a sponsor of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

NTT Data (a subsidiary of parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.) will remain the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard weekend.

With the extension, an IndyCar spokesman said NTT would become the second-longest title sponsor in series history. The longest title sponsor was PPG from 1980-97 (under the CART sanction of the Champ Car Series).

NTT replaced Verizon, which was IndyCar’s title sponsor from 2014-18 after IZOD from 2010-13.

“NTT is an excellent partner across our enterprise with strong expertise and a deep commitment to our sport,” Penske Corp. chairman and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said in a release. “From Smart Venue technology at the Racing Capital of the World to the reimagined Series mobile application, NTT is transforming the fan experience in new and innovative ways. We look forward to a bright future together.”

NTT has used artificial intelligence-enabled optical detection technology at IMS to provide information to the track’s operations and security teams, helping improve fan traffic flow and safety, the track said.

“IndyCar is a great partner for NTT Data because of our shared commitment to driving innovation, increasing sustainability and delivering amazing experiences,” NTT Data CEO Kaz Nishihata said in a release. “We also appreciate how IndyCar is so diverse, with drivers from 15 different countries, and races that range from short ovals and superspeedways to road and street courses. It’s both an incredible sport and a wonderful example for our world.”

NTT also has been instrumental in helping redesign the IndyCar app and providing more race and driver data for use in NBC Sports’ broadcasts by utilizing 140 data points from every car in the field.

“NTT is fully invested in the development and growth of our sport and has already established a terrific track record in our industry with problem-solving capabilities and access to top talent and tools,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said.

Said NTT Data Services CEO Bob Pryor: “We’re thrilled to continue our collaborations that enhance and expand the fan experience for motorsports and serve as proof points for data analytics, AI, and other innovative digital technologies. For more than a century, this racing series has pioneered innovations making driving safer for everyone, and by continuing this relationship, we will accelerate the pace of innovations and new technologies, particularly related to sustainability that ultimately can benefit organizations, communities and individuals around the world.”

Starting as a Japanese telephone company, NTT grew into a $100 billion-plus tech services giant with U.S. operations based in Plano, Texas.