Mclaren outcast Kevin Magnussen says that new Renault deal has saved his grand prix racing career
Kevin Magnussen says this year was make or break for the future of his Formula 1 career, following a year on the sidelines with Mclaren.
The Dane, 23, was officially unveiled as a Renault F1 driver alongside Jolyon Palmer in Paris last week after Pastor Maldonado’s contract with the team was dissolved after a disagreement between his backed PDVSA and Renault.
Magnussen – a former Formula Renault 3.5 champion – last raced in F1 in 2015 with Mclaren, when deputising for the injured Fernando Alonso. Magnussen made one of the most successful debuts in the sport’s history when he finished second in the 2014 Australian GP. Despite his solid first year, Magnussen lost his seat to Alonso last season, and officially parted company with the Woking outfit late last year.
Magnussen said a second season on the sidelines would have been very damaging to his F1 prospects: “Two years out would have been the end. If you’re a world champion, you might be able to come back. But in my position, being out for two years would have ended my F1 career. This was make or break for me, and luckily I made it. Not many drivers get a second chance.”
Magnussen added that he was prepared to play the waiting game with Renault until the team was ready to fight for podiums and wins again. “It’s important to be realistic about where we are,” he said. “It’s a complicated new set up, but Renault has done this before and I believe they will do it again.
“But you have to be patient. Things don’t just happen. So we will be realistic, take it race by race and just race as hard as we can this year.”
After parting with Mclaren, company boss Ron Dennis insisted he would help the Dane as best he could to return to an F1 race seat. But, Magnussen says his Renault deal came with no such aid.