Following another disappointing race and several agitated radio messages, including his calling Pastor Maldonado ‘mental’ despite not being to blame for the incident, rumours of Jenson Button’s retirement seem to be gathering pace. Should the Briton leave the battle could be between young guns Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne so who would fit the role better?
Magnussen is 22 years old and from Denmark and has already had a year in a McLaren F1 seat. He performed fantastically on his début, claiming a podium in his first race in Australia. His season after that wasn’t all that impressive but that wasn’t necessarily his fault because the McLaren was still underperforming. He achieved 55 points in his first full season. Previous to that Magnussen won the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2013 and Danish Formula Ford in 2008. He is now McLaren’s test driver following the return of Fernando Alonso. During his first season he was regarded alongside the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniel Kyvat as one of the next best things in Formula One. He would be a great fit once again for McLaren but he now faces a big challenge from the man taking GP2 by storm.
GP2 hasn’t seen this kind of dominance for quite some years but this season Stoffel Vandoorne has caught the eye of many people in the paddock. The 23 year old Belgian driver has five wins and four pole positions so far this season and an extremely strong 108 point lead going into the final few rounds. Therefore he is on course to win the title meaning that he cannot race again in GP2 next year and so will be looking for a new drive. He, like Magnussen is part of the McLaren young driver program and their third driver so he does know the team somewhat already.
When McLaren took a risk on Sergio Perez in 2013 after Hamilton’s exit he didn’t meet their high standards and so after just a year with the Woking outfit he left the team and went to Force India. So they could take another risk with Vandoorne who very little Formula One experience or bring back Magnussen who knows the team a bit better and has a full seasons experience. It is likely that whoever doesn’t get the seat will continue as their third driver but it is a very tough call and they will have a big gap to fill from Button who has done so much for the team over the years. What will it mean for Magnussen should Vandoorne get the drive? Where will Vandoorne end up if Magnussen, McLaren would surely want him gaining experience somewhere but seats are filling up on the grid? As the season starts to draw to a close the answer to the driver dilemma will soon be solved, Kevin Magnussen vs Stoffel Vandoorne, who will come out on top?