Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 2013

Whitmarsh on Magnussen: “This guy is special”

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Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 2013In the round-up: McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes Kevin Magnussen is a “special” driver.

Watch Jerez testing with JDC Promotions

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F1: McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen must grasp his chance as team principal Martin Whitmarsh admits they are taking a ‘risk’ with ‘special driver’ (The Independent)

“I also happened to participate in the engineering debrief at the end of the day and he had a number of engineers around him and at least 20 on video conference. I sat there listening to his feedback, how clear and precise he was, the confidence, and realising ‘This guy is special’.”

In conversation with Marussia (Sky)

Marussia team principal John Booth: “I think we probably spend ??25-??30million less than anybody else. It’s still a hell of a lot of money but we live within our means.”

Hamilton makes dramatic return to witness box (The Telegraph)

“There was a twist on the penultimate day of Anthony Hamilton?s damages lawsuit against Paul di Resta when the father of 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton made a dramatic return to the witness stand after ‘finding’ a box he had reported missing in evidence two weeks ago containing controversial BlackBerry devices.”

‘Talk is cheap’ – Ricciardo (ESPN)

“I know I’m going up against a very strong kid but I have faith that I can give him a bit of a push. We’ll soon find out – hopefully I’m not a second off, that would suck!”

Horner: budget won’t limit Renault (Autosport)

“They perhaps don’t have the budget of some of the others but they have been prudent in how they spend it.”

Heard the one about Nigel Mansell playing golf in the Australian Open? (The Guardian)

“Greg Norman knew Mansell had a low handicap, so he arranged for his friend from F1 to play the tournament as a wildcard.”


Comment of the day

MattDS is surprised McLaren aren’t testing in Bahrain this week:

I understand some teams not being there since a lot of them are strapped for cash and this test would probably cost quite a bit, but I don?t understand McLaren?s absence. I mean, there?s always benefit. Give new drivers time in the car, create a base understanding of compounds (even if not final).

Look at Toro Rosso: Daniil Kvyat is entirely new to F1 and with so few opportunities to get vital track time, he will get some of it. Meanwhile McLaren could have done the same with Magnussen, but they won?t.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

An interesting comment from Christian Horner one year ago today – the Red Bull team principal said Ferrari should have dropped Felipe Massa at the end of the season. Twelve months on, they finally have.

Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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  • 59 comments on “Whitmarsh on Magnussen: “This guy is special””

    1. So unlinke his race drivers Eric Boullier actually drives a real Lotus

      1. Not a bad way to travel to work. Lotus make some nice cars.
        I wonder if the old Toyota F1 execs rocked up in a Camry…?

        1. Maybe a Lotus since yota supplies the Lotus engines…..

        2. They could drive a Celica or a Land Cruiser :) If it was today, a Lexus LFA would be pretty cool.

    2. I’m excited to see how Magnussen goes next year, but boy is Whitmarsh adding to the pressure on the yound Dane. It’s almost as if MW is more interested in justifying the decision to dump Perez than lowering expectations just a tad.

      1. I can’t seem to like Whitmarsh, I personally think he doesn’t have “it”. He may be a great father-figure kind of guy who most people would get along with, but that’s not necessarily what being a team boss is about. And seeing how McLaren has failed to make use of the potential of their cars these past few years, I think I might be right… it all begins with a driver lineup: Ferrari use Sauber and Marussia to get talents from – Red Bull have Torro Rosso. What do Mercedes have? They “stole” Perez from Ferrari just to find out he might not have been what they were looking for after all. Plus I personally don’t think Button is a top driver at all… Magnussen might be a lucky shot, but he should’ve probably been brought in with another team to get some experience. Imagine McLaren signing Hulkenberg and Bianchi! But no…

        1. I meant to say “What do McLaren have?”

        2. You think too much.

        3. Plus I personally don’t think Button is a top driver at all…

          Bah, he’s not the fastest driver out there but we is a consistent point scorer. He finished second in the driver standings in 2011 when Hamilton was nowhere. He’s a good driver, but I rather see him as a n°2 to a real top driver like Vettel or Alonso.

        4. Like Ferrari “stole” Perez from his Mexican backers and put him in their young driver program, once he had already graduated to F1? Unless they had a hand in getting him in to Sauber.. but I still reckon his Mexican backing sealed the deal. They already had Gutierrez as the test driver, so the connection is obvious. Just as testing Leimer a few years back was.. but he doesn’t bring in the cash, so he now has no chance of a seat (and arguably the time to test him would have been now).

          McLaren were set to put Magnussen in alongside Hulkenberg at Force India. Now there’s a handy yard stick.. Gutierrez got trounced (but Sauber don’t even have a simulator, so he was a sitting duck for getting barely any track time.. hence always first out in sessions, same with Hulkenberg. Whitmarsh shook hands with Mallya but Mallya reneged when a better deal was on the table. I.e. Perez and 15m Euros. So, he still owes McLaren the £8m they were probably going to waive for running Magnussen.. but now instead he has Perez (a known quantity to him, good second driver to Hulk), and also 15m Euros with which to pay for McLaren tech continuing (not that he’d want their 2013 tech)/being paid off, Hulk’s salary for 2012 and now 2014 paid, and a few million Euros left for continued car development.

          Whitmarsh did say he was disappointed in his handshake deal not coming off, but this is F1 we are talking about, where even written contracts don’t guarantee anything.. ask Luiz Razia.. so Magnussen is now in at McLaren straight away, and could challenge Button like Hamilton did, if not better come the end of the season and being comfortable in the car. McLaren engineers rate Magnussen even higher than Hamilton.. and we know how he did against Button (although not an ‘utter trouncing’ as some people thought).. similarly they were disappointed with Perez.. and we know how he did as well (worse than Hulk, even in a better car).

          We have to face what the data is now telling us: Sauber had a beast of a 2012 car – even Red Bull were copying things from it. Perez and Kobayashi were too inconsistent, which is why Kamui now can’t even get an F1 seat, despite bringing £6.5m to the table to sweeten the deal (£1.5m of that was crowd-funded from the Japanese fans). As we saw with Perez as well, once he had the McLaren contract signed he went off the boil and didn’t score any more points in the season. He didn’t have to.. he was complacent. He probably thought his backing secured him in at McLaren as well. But Mallya saw to it that he got him (and his guaranteed cash) instead.

          1. Your assertions about Mallya are rather forceful given there is no proof that Whitmarsh was actually trying to place Magnussen at Force India – after all, there were rumours surrounding Marussia for some time too given they have a technical partnership with McLaren. It could have also been a team with no links to McLaren altogether – Red Bull had no links to HRT when they placed Ricciardo there for half a season.

            As for the comment on Perez and the Ferrari Driver Academy, well, the situation there is unclear – Perez signed his contract with Sauber and the Ferrari Driver Academy at the same time.
            Sauber have had very tight ties with Ferrari in recent years, with Sauber being a customer of Ferrari and Ferrari making use of Sauber’s wind tunnel facilities – Ferrari did also place Massa at Sauber in the past to train him up there, so it is not impossible that Ferrari were involved, to some extent, in the negotiations between Perez and Sauber.

        5. @Roald

          They “stole” Perez from Ferrari

          That’s a bit much. Perez wasn’t driving for Ferrari and if they wanted him so badly it’s not as if they didn’t have a chronically under-performing number two they couldn’t have replaced him with.

      2. I think there are a good crop of young drivers out there, Magnussen in one of them. I’m also excited about the Dane and I hope MP4-29 is a race winner because I want to see this kid getting in the mix just like Lewis turned the F1 world upside down in 2007.

        In the era of the pay-driver it’s refreshing to see a young guy getting a drive for his talent alone.

        1. Agree and which beter team than McLaren to have that kind of decision … Have a look at Hamilton but also Raikonen who had few single seater races before jumping into that McLaren.

          Excited as well to see what he can do

    3. It’s not in the round-up, but I am equal parts impressed and bemused by Jenson Button’s attitude towards pre-season testing, describing it as going to be hilarious as everyone tries to sort out technical gremlins. It’s a good thing that he’s got his humour about him, because it will help with the frustrations of breakdowns, but at the same time, I keep hearing Yakety Sax.

    4. About the COTD, and given the simulator feedback Buttton gave… I just hope they are not a bit late with the development of their car.

      1. @spoutnik Or McLaren is really confident in their simulator and think it is more important to run on it than with 2013 spec cars … But indeed they miss an opportunity to have a run in F1 for a youngster, except if they think it is of no use as the driving will be so much different next year that it doesn’t have any sense to them. (I am just trying to find some kind of explanation here)

        Anyway I don’t see which kind of information Pirelli will be able to retrieve with this test. The load applied to the tyre will be so much different between 2013 and 2014 spec cars that I don’t see this as very relevant … Tyre will have to withstand much more torque, thus they will never reach (or should never reach) operating window with 2013 spec cars

    5. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      17th December 2013, 0:26

      The drivers who run the test will see some interesting display of fireworks in Barhain… coming in flying bottles of gasoline!

      1. Not enough publicity, so the investment does not worth it. Expect rebels to return to their daily duties as west only generous to a very few special individuals, people doing the protests are lucky to get away with free food!

    6. Well, Jules, you should not have chosen 77 as your third choice. Bottas was very clear that it would be his first choice, and he was ahead of you the WDC 2013…

      1. Poor Jules he probably won’t get any of the numbers he asked, in that case does the FIA decide the number? I’m confused

        1. They will probably ask him to resubmit his numbers.

      2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        17th December 2013, 9:35

        Hmmm, a young driver within the Ferrari fold wants first dibs on the iconic number 27, sounds pretty confident in where his future lies.

        1. Why does everybody assume that a driver choosing 27 is choosing it because of its history?

          1. Am I missing something? What’s so special about Ferrari and ’27’?

            1. @superleggera – Under the old numbering systems, teams kept the same numbers year in and year out. They only ever changed their numbers when they won a championship, swapping numbers with the outgoing champions. When Alan Jones won the 1981 title, Williams got numbers 1 and 2, whilst Ferrari got 27 and 28. They would go on to keep those numbers for over twenty years.

              In 1981, Ferrari’s car was woefully underpowered, but Gilles Villeneuve managed to drive it beyond its limits to achieve some extraordinary things, including a win at Jarama where he took on the turbo-powered cars and won. The number 27 stuck out at the time, and in later years, some of the moat famous Ferrari drivers went on to drive car 27.

              As a result, there are some sentimental people among us who want to see the 27 return to Formula 1, but they don’t want just anyone to have it. They either want it to stay at Ferrari, or to be used by one of the top four drivers.

            2. Gilles Villeneuve. He *was* special.

            3. @superleggera @prisoner-monkeys

              teams kept the same numbers year in and year out

              That’s not entirely right – take McLaren for example:

              1988 – 11 and 12
              1989 – 1 and 2 (Senna was champion)
              1990 – 27 and 28 (Prost was champion but left to join Ferrari)
              1991 – 1 and 2 (Senna was champion)
              1992 – 1 and 2 (Senna was champion)
              1993 – 7 and 8

              Some teams changed their numbers very little (Tyrrell were usually 3 and 4, for example) but the teams weren’t fixed on using particular numbers from year to year.

      3. Rumor has it that Raikkonen chose 7 and Vergne 27, so tough luck Jules…

        1. @klass – It’s no rumour for Vergne, but 27 is his third choice. He wants #25 or #21 first.

    7. So Bianchi asked for 27, we all know what that means……. Half-life 3 confirmed!

      1. I don’t know if I can like this comment any more than I already do! Cheers for that!

      2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        17th December 2013, 9:38

        Great timing when you posted that comment by the way!

    8. I’m anxious to find out how good Kevin is going to be next year. It’s interesting how his rookie season will compare to Hamilton’s.

      Hamilton had far more experience in an F1 car with the amount of testing and grooming he got before Australia 2007. Kevin is going to have relatively less time in an f1 car, yet luckily, is entering the sport at the time of a massive regulation change, so there is a bit of a learning curve for every driver on the grid this year

      Hamilton had the a gargantuan task of racing alongside a the defending double world champion, Alonso. Kevin is lucky that his bar is set significantly lower with Button as a teammate.

      The risk is higher for Kevin though, if he fails to beat Button, he really wouldn’t be considered to be as ‘special’ as he Whitmarsh has made him out to be. If Lewis had fallen short of Alonso’s points tally in 2007, he would still have the paddock’s respect as he fell short of beating the best driver on the grid at the time.

      Cant wait to see how this pans out in 2014

      1. I’m going to be surprised if Magnussen really manages to beat Button next year and I doubt if McLaren actually expect that. No rookie after 2007 has had a sterling debut season, everyone has struggled.

        I think Magnussen is rather a long-term prospect and the fact that McLaren are chasing Alonso means that they believe they need a stronger team leader than Button or a young Magnussen to fight for titles. On the other hand, Button is going to be a very good benchmark. After all, he is a world champion, has won 8 races for McLaren and he beat Hamilton fair and square in 2011.

      2. If McLaren are willing to back Magnussen (and by back, I mean accept that as a rookie, he will make mistakes and will likely not beat his Championship winning, vastly experienced team mate), he will only improve over time.

        Vettel made plenty of mistakes when he was at Toro Rosso, including taking Webber out when he was leading under a safety car, but Red Bull stuck with him and they deserve the success they’ve had as a result.

        1. David not Coulthard (@)
          17th December 2013, 12:00

          He still made mistakes in his championship year, by the way.

          1. W (@yesyesyesandyesagain)
            17th December 2013, 16:56

            Yeah, like smashing into Webber again.

    9. The Antony Hamilton case sounds seriously ridiculous to read. No wonder Lewis parted with Antony !!!!!!!

      1. Anthony Hamilton and Di Resta both seem as bad as each other. This is why you don’t take disputes to court….no-one comes out looking good!

      2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        17th December 2013, 9:20

        If ever they do another re-make of Minder, Anthony Hamilton should play Arthur Daley.

      3. “I found the box of Blackberry equipment!…I had them scanned for incriminating evidence and there was none so…here it is.

        What a weasel.

    10. So far Hamilton v Di Resta seems to be going about as well as Wilde vs Queensberry ;)

      1. Hmmm. So if Hamilton and Di Resta are Queensbury and Wilde . . . who is Lord Alfred Douglas?

    11. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      17th December 2013, 6:18

      I sure Lewis loves his dad, but man, from a professional standpoint; I bet he’s bloody pleased to have gotten away from him.

      Sounds like a basket case.

    12. Banks said that he and his team had installed 110 CCTV cameras at Hamilton’s home,

      What the hell, is he living in a supermarket? More than 100 cameras – geez.

      1. I guess he is the kind of guy who likes to look at the cameras at times to see “what is going on around the house” Very strange that none of those cameras are pointed at the back gates, that just doesn’t make sense when having this many cameras around (seriously that would be one of the first cameras put in place, right?).

      2. He he More than 100 cameras but not one covering the spot where the thief had dropped back the box …. Hmmmm that sounds odd…

        Either the thief is super lucky to end up in the spot or he is too good …..

        Either way the camera installation team did not do a good job…..

        Sounds pretty messy overall …

    13. If that Marussia article is true, they have achieved a magnificent feat. There are my favourite team in F1.

      Why? Because they are true plucky survivors, they are the modern day Minardi or Super Aguri. I think they should deserve massive credit for what they have done. They are a rare type of team, truly old fashioned. Don’t be fooled by the corporate names (Virgin, Marussia) they are running under, the team is largely the result of one man, John Booth and his company Manor Motorsport. Unlike Caterham (mainly created to advertise Mr. Fernandes products) they are a proper independent race team like the former teams of Minardi and Jordan. If they have beat Caterham on so much less money, they have my maximum respect.

      1. +1 Marussia did a massive job this year with the least powerful engine of the grid, massive respect :D

    14. Whitmarsh is speaking highly of a new driver and germans don’t like Vettel, PR makes up something about Lewis, half life 3 talk on the comments it’s deja vú, this year though I’m reading all the round-ups the December test really leaves us fanatics a bit more connected to F1 than in recent winters, imagine if as Peter Windsor and Domenicalli say F1 marketed the tests properly.

      1. germans don’t like Vettel

        I heard Schumi won the prize only twice, in 1994 and 2004. Vettel already received the trophy once in 2010. If I’m not wrong Schumi was/is loved a lot by Germans? Judging by that and how rarely a driver wins BBC overseas SPOTY award, I gather it’s more a case of motor sports not being a popular category in that regard.

    15. Hello!

      Anybody knows if any TV Station is going to show live, the F1 Pirelli test at Bahrain International Circuit, Dec 17 to Dec 19 ?


      1. I assume not. Sky aren’t and they tend to show any live sessions available to them.

      2. @win7golf – None of they. Testing doesn’t usually get coverage, at least not from the mainstream media. It’s very esoteric; the teams run through their programmes and don’t tell anyone what they are doing and why. There is nothing to cover because there is no information available.

    16. wasnt his father meant to be the ‘next senna’?

      1. Yes, and his result indeed indicated so. But as he later confessed, he was too cocky and unprepared both physically and mentally for F1.

        So if Kevin inherited some of Jan’s speed, there is no doubt he will do great things as Jan was trying to prepare him for everything motor-racing is beside driving fast.

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