Following today’s news that Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will form McLaren-Honda’s first driver line-up in over two decades; I cannot help but feel that we risk losing one of the hottest talents within recent years in Kevin Magnussen. As a result, I’ve lost a massive amount of respect for the team which I have supported for as long as I can remember.
Kevin Magnussen exploded into Formula One by delivering McLaren’s strongest result for over a year with a third place which became second place following Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification. He was more than a match for Jenson Button on a number of occasions this year, and although he made some rookie mistakes, he was entitled to do that as, well, he was a rookie. Neither Jenson Button nor Magnussen deserved to be axed after this year, and now the Dane, aged just 22 has been forced to put his Formula One career on hold when he should be in the car, developing. Remember that, 22 years old, after one year. Not the sort of age that somebody should be forced to quit something they have trained their whole life for.
Magnussen showed the speed this year, despite never racing on the tricky Pirelli tyres prior to 2014. Nobody can deny that. Brilliant qualifying results at Melbourne and at Hockenheim justify this. It was his race craft which needs fine-tuning. He is not going to learn how to race against the best in the world unless he is racing against the best in the world, not by sitting on the side-lines. The reserve driver role, which he has been relegated to, can jeopardise a driver’s career, as we have seen in recent years. We need no reminding as to what happened to both Davide Valsecchi and Robin Frijns. Both were very hot talents whilst in junior formulae, won the championships just below F1, became a reserve driver and that was the last we saw of them. With the restrictions on testing, a test driver will cover very little distance in 2015, as oppose to when Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa sat out for a whole season testing. That is a fact. McLaren are not going to drop one of their coveted World Champion drivers in FP1 for Magnussen as well.
I could almost understand if McLaren placed Magnussen in another Formula One team or in a very decent car in another top category but that does not appear to be the case. In my ideal world, he would be racing in a LMP1 car next year, but if rumours are to be believed, he will be racing in the Super GT series alongside the likes of F1 failures Vitantonio Liuzzi and Kazuki Nakajima.
As for Button, he has not got many years left in him, he will almost certainly not beat an in-form Alonso, and I cannot see him winning another World Championship. I would personally have preferred it if he went off to the World Endurance Championship where he certainly would have absolutely thrived. As for Alonso, I’m not even sure why Ron Dennis is willing to trust him again. I’ll believe the claims that Alonso is a changed man when I see it.
Poor show McLaren.
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