Magnussen thought debut P2 was start of title fight

Date published: January 11 2021

Kevin Magnussen

After taking a podium with P2 in his debut race, Kevin Magnussen was expecting that to be the start of a title challenge.

Back in 2014 Magnussen arrived at McLaren tipped as a star of the future, and his stock only rose with P2 at the Australian Grand Prix – what a way to debut!

But from there his career never really took off. Magnussen would be dropped at the end of that season to make way for Fernando Alonso, while stints with Renault and Haas which followed brought a best result of P5.

Haas confirmed that Magnussen would leave the team at the end of the 2020 season.

It has certainly been a far different Formula 1 journey to the one Magnussen imagined, since after that P2 on debut he expected to be in a title fight for the rest of that season.

“It’s hard to know how things are going to go,” Magnussen told Autosport.

“When I started my F1 career in Melbourne 2014, I had pretty high expectations.

“I thought I was going to be fighting for the championship in my first year after that first race.

“You can’t ever predict how things are going to go in Formula 1. You’ve just got to do the best, and enjoy it while it lasts.”

Magnussen was keen to thank McLaren for giving him his break in Formula 1, and there is certainly no ill-feeling from his side after the uncertainty that surrounded his seat for 2015, and ultimately the decision to replace him with Alonso.

“I can’t complain, I’m thankful for the opportunity McLaren gave me as a rookie,” he said.

“I can’t really say that I regret anything. I thought I was going to get into Formula 1 with Force India back then. That was almost a done deal, that was my expectation, and what McLaren was telling me, that they would place me in Force India.

“At the last minute, it changed, and they put me in McLaren. It was also a very hectic time around my debut, but at the end of the day, I’m happy with how things turned out.

“You can always look back and find things that I would have done differently if I could do it again, and decisions I would have done differently if I could do it again.

“But at the end of the day, I got a career in Formula 1. Not many people get to do that. As a young kid dreaming of Formula 1, it’s a pretty difficult dream to realise.

“I did that, and I’m thankful for that, and pleased that I got the opportunity.”

Kevin Magnussen

Magnussen finished by saying there was one big decision he made in his career which he would have done differently with another chance, but he was “not going to dwell on it”.

After leaving Formula 1 Magnussen now makes the switch to the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as part of the Chip Ganassi Racing outfit.

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