Kevin Magnussen

Born:
5th October 1992 (Age 26)
Roskilde, Sjaelland
Nationality:
Danish
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Kevin Magnussen was fast tracked to Formula 1 as McLaren looked for its next superstar. A Grand Prix driver by the age of 21, the Dane was second on his debut in the 2014 Australian Grand Prix but it was an inconclusive maiden campaign with Magnussen eventually overlooked for the following season. His immediate future as a GP driver was saved by a late deal to race for Renault in 2016 and subsequent move to Haas.

A second generation racer with success of his own

The son of sometime F1 driver and GT star Jan Magnussen, Kevin raced in karts before making the switch to car racing in the 2008 Danish Formula Ford Championship. He swept all before him at home with his Fukamuni Racing Aquilla FD1 winning 11 times as he clinched the title. He then travelled to Brands Hatch to finish seventh in the Festival, a race his father had won in 1992.

He joined Motopark Academy for the 2009 Formula Renault 2.0 season – winning from pole position at the Nurburgring as he finished second in the Northern European Cup behind António Félix da Costa. He was also classified seventh in that year’s Eurocup.

Magnussen then graduated to German Formula 3 with Motopark’s Dallara F307-Volkswagen. That 2010 campaign began with victory at Oschersleben – the first of three wins as the youngster challenged Tom Dillmann and Daniel Abt for the title. Eventually third overall, he made a one-off appearance in the F3 Euroseries at Valencia – winning the reverse grid second race of the weekend.

A switch to the British F3 Championship in 2011 was with Carlin’s Dallara F308-Volkswagen. Team-mate Felipe Nasr established a championship-winning margin during the first half of the season while Magnussen recovered from a slow start to finish as runner-up – eventually matching the new champion’s seven race wins. The Dane then escaped injury after being launched high into the fence at Macau at over 160 mph.

McLaren protégé – F1 tests and title success

By now part of McLaren’s driver development programme, Magnussen raced for Carlin in the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 Championship. Victory from pole position in the second race at Spa-Francorchamps provided the highlight of an inconsistent campaign that included just two additional podium finishes. However, he completed the year by setting the quickest time in Abu Dhabi’s young driver F1 test after two days behind the wheel of a McLaren MP4/27-Mercedes-Benz.

Magnussen moved to DAMS in 2013 for his second F.Renault 3.5 season for what proved to be a final audition for a McLaren F1 race seat. The Dane eclipsed team-mate and pre-season favourite da Costa to win five times (including pole to flag victories at the last three rounds) and beat fellow McLaren protégé Stoffel Vandoorne to the title. That was a crucial success for Magnussen was soon announced as part of McLaren’s 2014 race team and da Costa, so long expected to be Red Bull’s next F1 graduate, was overlooked in favour of GP3 champion Daniil Kvyat.

Formula 1 with McLaren

McLaren’s 2014 season began with Magnussen and Jenson Button classified second and third in Australia after Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull was disqualified on a technicality. However, that masked the inadequacies of the new MP4/29 and they struggled in the midfield for much of the campaign. Censored for his sometimes overly forceful driving style, Magnussen often outpaced his vastly experienced team-mate but it was not enough to be included in the initial race line-up for 2015.

Button was announced as the returning Fernando Alonso's team-mate for the 2015 F1 World Championship with Magnussen relegated to reserve driver for the season. With new engine partner Honda struggling to develop its V6 turbocharged engine, Magnussen was scheduled to race in the Australian GP after Alonso crashed in testing. However, his engine failed on the way to the grid – a portent for the team's frustrating season to come.

Formula 1 reprieves with Renault and Haas

McLaren decided not to retain Magnussen and the Dane's F1 career appeared over before the late call to replace Pastor Maldonado in Renault's line-up for the 2016 World Championship. The team languished in the lower midfield although Magnussen hauled his RE16 into seventh-place in Russia. That was the highlight of an inconsistent campaign which included just one more points’ finish when 10th in Singapore.

He switched to Haas F1 in 2017 and scored five points’ finishes on the way to 14th in the World Championship. He benefitted from the chaos in Baku to finish seventh and man-handled his uncompetitive car into eighth position in Mexico. With improved Ferrari engines strengthening Haas’ performances in 2019, Magnussen finished fifth in Bahrain and Austria and outscored Grosjean in the championship. He was outpaced by his team-mate by the end of the campaign but completed the season a career-best ninth in the world. That said, Magnussen at times drew criticism for his overly forceful tactics in the midfield.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2019 F1 World Championship
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team
14 0 0 0
0% win rate
18
2018 F1 World Championship
Haas F1 Team
21 0 0 0
0% win rate
9th 56
2017 F1 World Championship
Haas Formula 1 Team
20 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 19
2016 F1 World Championship
Renault Sport Formula 1 Team
21 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 7
2015 F1 World Championship
McLaren Honda
0 (1) 0 0 0 22nd 0
2014 F1 World Championship
McLaren Mercedes
19 0 1 0
0% win rate
11th 55
2013 World Series by Renault
DAMS
17 8 13 5
30% win rate
1st 274
2012 World Series by Renault
Carlin
17 3 3 1
6% win rate
7th 106
2011 European F3 Championship
Carlin
5 0 1 0
0% win rate
0
2010 F3 Euroseries
Motopark Academy
2 0 1 1
50% win rate
12th 8