AN­THONY ROWL­IN­SON “Mag­nussen has an in­ter­est in F1 his­tory”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Mem­ber’s Meet­ing, p20

K

evin Mag­nussen has a sense of hu­mour. I know this be­cause on the Fri­day af­ter­noon of the Aus­tralian GP week­end I tweeted a pic­ture of a half-peeled ba­nana in re­ply to a Re­nault Sport shot of K-mag walk­ing through the pad­dock in his top-down race suit.

Seemed to me Mag­nussen, dressed in yel­low and off-white, looked like a ripe Fyffe. Hap­pily, so did he and he went on to retweet the shot of him­self along­side his fruity dop­pel­ganger, with the re­sult that for a cou­ple of hours it be­came a bit of a ‘thing’ on Twit­ter.

Enough with the fruit al­ready! How about an­other not-im­me­di­ately-ap­par­ent K-mag char­ac­ter­is­tic? He has a strong in­ter­est in F1’s his­tory, both the cars and the men that drove them. His rac­ing hero, for ex­am­ple, is none other than Stir­ling Moss. Some­what of a sur­prise for a 23-year-old, who might be ex­pected to idolise a Schu­macher, a Hakki­nen or even an Alonso. But no, for Mag­nussen, it’s Sir Stirl all the way: “The big one for me is Stir­ling Moss,” he con­firms. “He was just a real racer. He raced ev­ery week­end he could – more than 80 races a year. And he was earn­ing like £300 per race, so he did it only be­cause he liked rac­ing. That was his life and he was hav­ing so much fun with it. It was the same with Jim Clark and Gra­ham Hill and all th­ese guys. I love the fact that they were in it only be­cause they loved it.”

It emerges, as we chat, that Kevin has met his idol and, con­trary to ur­ban leg­end warn­ing against such en­coun­ters, he found him­self suit­ably star-stuck: “He’s such a leg­end. And still to­tally up to date. He was ask­ing me re­ally strong ques­tions about the rules and tech­ni­cal de­tails. He’s com­pletely on it.”

It’s re­fresh­ing and rare to hear an F1 young­ster talk with pas­sion about his rac­ing fore­bears, not be­cause the past was any bet­ter or worse than the present; sim­ply that it dis­plays a sense of per­spec­tive that has surely stood him in good stead through a trou­bled start to his F1 ca­reer.

He en­tered with a bang with a se­cond place for Mclaren on his de­but in Mel­bourne, 2014, but was dropped to a re­serve driver role at the end of the sea­son. Last year was spent in the shad­ows, and his deal with Re­nault was truly last-gasp as the takeover of the out­go­ing Lotus team was con­firmed dur­ing the off-sea­son.

Not that any of that mat­ters now. He’s just de­lighted to be back in the game – and with a team whose val­ues per­fectly match his own: “It’s just pure rac­ing at En­stone, like a mas­sive F3 team. It’s all about rac­ing. There’s no bulls**t, just a fo­cus on per­for­mance and ev­ery­thing is about F1, which I re­ally en­joy. They are there for the race car and the driv­ers and the team, and they just want to win. I re­ally en­joy that.”

Ba, ba, ba, ba, ba­nana...

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