Magnussen: Low expectations for one-off McLaren drive

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McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen is heading into this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix with low expectations following a difficult winter testing period for the British team.

For 2015, McLaren has reunited with engine supplier Honda, with whom it dominated Formula 1 back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

However, the new partnership has not started entirely as planned, with the team encountering a number of problems with the power unit throughout pre-season.

Magnussen will race in Australia this weekend as a planned one-off for McLaren, deputizing for Fernando Alonso who is still being rested following a testing accident in Barcelona last month.

Despite finishing second in the race last year, the Dane is not expecting a similar result this time around due to the reliability problems that the team has faced.

“I would say quite low,” Magnussen said when asked what his expectations were. “We’re struggling obviously with reliability, making the car run for a long time, but this is a new start for McLaren, a new start in many ways and I think it’s going to take time.

“I think it’s the right direction that the team has chosen to go and I think it has a bright future ahead, but I think it’s going to take time but I’m sure they’ll get there.”

McLaren is yet to confirm whether or not Alonso will be fit to race in the Malaysian Grand Prix at the end of the month. Magnussen confirmed that the Spaniard had wished him the best of luck for this weekend’s race, but is otherwise unaware of his recovery programme.

“I haven’t been in contact with him, only on Twitter he wished me good luck and I said thank you and that’s it,” Magnussen said. “I haven’t asked him how he’s feeling but I hear he’s doing well so yeah, obviously at this race I wish him all the best.

“Can’t really say much more because I don’t know much more. What about Malaysia? You’ll have to wait, I don’t know. I’m not the right person to ask.”