McLaren CEO Ron Dennis believes that there is no shame in Kevin Magnussen’s exit from the team, claiming that he could not stand in the way of the Dane’s racing ambitions.
Magnussen rose through the junior ranks at McLaren before making his Formula 1 debut with the team in 2014, finishing second in his very first race.
However, after a difficult season working with the MP4-29 car, and when Fernando Alonso became a free agent from Ferrari, Magnussen was left on the sidelines for 2015.
Magnussen opted to remain with the team in a reserve role to try and reclaim his seat for 2016, but McLaren has retained both Alonso and Jenson Button for next season, leaving the Dane out in the cold.
Not wishing to stand in the way of Magnussen’s ambitions to race full-time in F1, McLaren informed him on his birthday that his contract would not be renewed for 2016.
“Kevin has always done a very impressive and professional job for McLaren in the five years since he joined our Young Driver Programme in 2010,” Dennis said.
“In 2014 he raced very well alongside Jenson, who is a hugely experienced and very quick world champion. Kevin’s grand prix debut in Melbourne last year was rewarded with a podium that day that he, and we, can be justifiably proud of.
“Kevin has continued to work hard for us in 2015, supporting Fernando and Jenson, although he was understandably frustrated not to be racing.
“He is extremely keen to return to racing next year, and, in keeping with our tradition with our young drivers, we will not stand in the way of his ability to fulfil his ambition and potential.
“He is a very talented racing driver, and he deserves to have a Formula 1 career, as Jenson has publicly said.
“Evidently, we have no space for him at McLaren-Honda as a race driver next year, but there is no shame in being edged out by two world champions, Fernando and Jenson.
“We wish Kevin well, and will do all we can to help him successfully embark on the next chapter of his racing career.”
Magnussen is thought to be in the running for the vacant seat at Lotus/Renault in 2016, although a move into IndyCar or sportscars has also been mooted.