F1 2016 Driver Review: Kevin Magnussen

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Kevin Magnussen

Team: Renault
Car No.: 20
Races: 21
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: 7th (Russia)
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 7
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 16th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

K-Mag returned to Formula 1 full-time in 2016 with Renault, snapping up Pastor Maldonado’s seat at Renault after the Venezuelan’s funding fell through. Expectations were high, with most seeing this as a second chance for the Dane following his one-year stint with McLaren in 2014, but he was ultimately hamstrung by circumstances at the team.

2016 was always going to be a year of rebuilding for Renault, with the R.S.16 car offering little in the way of development from the 2015 Lotus. Nevertheless, Magnussen managed to claim a hugely impressive seventh-place finish in Russia, avoiding chaos at the start and holding on to his place in the top 10. Only one more point followed in Singapore, leaving him with a final total of seven for the season.

While disappointing in terms of points, Magnussen did significantly outperform teammate Jolyon Palmer through the first half of the year. It will be interesting to see if he can finally come good in 2017 when he moves to Haas, partnering Romain Grosjean.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Renault’s youth-only lineup of Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer, in a first-year factory reboot effort after its past run as Lotus (which was Renault before that), didn’t inspire much confidence going into the year.

Magnussen’s second F1 campaign wasn’t near as good as his first one. Other than an opportunistic drive to seventh at Russia, there were few highlights to be found. Instead, Magnussen’s only real memorable moments came with his accident at Spa – he was OK – and his car’s fire in the pits in Malaysia.

This was an interesting dynamic for Magnussen in that he theoretically should have been team leader, but already has left after one season with Nico Hulkenberg coming on board next year. At best case, Magnussen will learn from Romain Grosjean at Haas in 2017, and be able to score more points. He’ll also have the unique note of having run all four V6 power units in as many years – Mercedes, Honda, Renault and next year Ferrari – once he takes the green at Melbourne.