Kevin Jan Magnussen (born 5 October 1992) is a Danish racing driver, currently driving for the Haas F1 Team. The son of four-time Le Mans GT class winner, GM factory driver and former Formula One driver Jan Magnussen, Kevin Magnussen came up through McLaren Formula One team’s Young Driver Programme and drove for McLaren in the 2014 Formula One World Championship.
Formula One career
Magnussen had his first experience of the McLaren MP4-27 Formula One car on track at the Abu Dhabi Young Driver test on 6 November 2012. He set a quickest time of 1:42.651. Previously he had done work in the team’s driving simulator. Magnussen’s time was the best of the three-day test impressing McLaren’s sporting director Sam Michael. The distance he covered in the course of the test was sufficient to earn his FIA Super Licence.
On 14 November 2013 it was confirmed that Magnussen would drive for McLaren for the 2014 season, replacing Sergio Pérez. In line with a new rule introduced in Formula One for the 2014 season – where drivers picked a car number that they would use during their career – Magnussen raced with number 20 as this was the number he had on his DAMS car in 2013 when he won the championship.
At the Jerez and Bahrain pre-season tests he topped the timesheets, and at the first race in Australia, he qualified in fourth position. In the race itself, Magnussen avoided crashing at the start – after his car encountered oversteer through wheelspin – and after passing Lewis Hamilton’s ailing Mercedes in the early stages, Magnussen maintained position to take a third-place finish; he finished 2.2 seconds on-the-road behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in second place. As a result, Magnussen became only the second Danish driver – after his father Jan, who was sixth at the 1998 Canadian Grand Prix – to take a points-scoring finish, and the first debutant, since Hamilton at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix, to take a podium in his first Grand Prix. After the race, Magnussen described the result as “like a victory”. He was later promoted to second place in the results, after Ricciardo was disqualified due to fuel irregularities,making him the first rookie to finish second since Jacques Villeneuve at the 1996 Australian Grand Prix. Magnussen recorded eleven further points-scoring finishes throughout 2014, the majority being ninth- or tenth-place finishes; although Magnussen recorded seventh-place finishes in Austria and Great Britain – circuits where he had prior experience from junior formulae – and a fifth-place finish in Russia. On 11 December 2014, however, it was announced Fernando Alonso would be returning to McLaren to partner Button, leaving Magnussen to be a test and reserve driver for McLaren.
On 3 March 2015, McLaren announced that Magnussen would replace Fernando Alonso in the Australian Grand Prix. Magnussen replaced the senior McLaren driver after doctors advised Alonso to not race due to a concussion obtained during a testing incident on 22 February.However, Magnussen failed to start the race after suffering an engine failure on the formation lap.
On 5 October 2015, he received an e-mail from the personal assistant of McLaren chairman, Ron Dennis, releasing him from McLaren. This was made public by McLaren on 16 October.
After being released by McLaren, Magnussen was confirmed to have been in discussion to drive for the Haas F1 Team, before Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez were named as the team’s drivers. Magnussen had reportedly been in talks about a seat at Manor Racing in Formula One as well. Magnussen tested a Mercedes DTM car, and Porsche’s LMP1 car, hinting that he may have had options outside Formula One, including IndyCar, where he was believed to have entered talks with Bryan Herta Autosport about a drive.
On 28 January 2016, unconfirmed reports emerged that Magnussen was set to replace Pastor Maldonado at Renault, partnering rookie Jolyon Palmer for the upcoming season, following a breach of contract between Maldonado and the team. On 3 February, Renault confirmed Magnussen had joined their 2016 campaign.
On 10 November 2016, it was announced that Magnussen signed a contract with Haas for 2017. He will become the first driver to drive all 4 hybrid power units since the hybrid era started in 2014.