Introducing Kevin Magnussen, the driver who will replace Sergio Perez at McLaren
Charting the rise and rise of the 21-year-old Dane
By Sky Sports Online
Last Updated: 15/11/13 7:43am
Born on 5th October 1992 in Roskilde in Denmark, Magnussen is the son of former McLaren and Stewart driver and four-time GT winner at Le Mans, Jan.
Like most race drivers, Magnussen began his career in karting, graduating to single-seaters in 2008 where he dominated Danish Formula Ford with 11 victories in 15 races on his way to the title.
The Dane moved to Formula Renault 2.0 the following season and contested a dual campaign of the Eurocup and North European Cup. He finished as runner-up to Antonio Felix da Costa in the NEC after 12 podium finishes from his 14 races and seventh overall in the Eurocup.
His performances that season attracted the attention of McLaren who signed him to their Young Driver Programme.
2010 saw another step-up for Magnussen as he moved to the German F3 Cup in which he finished third in the overall standings and as top rookie. The Dane also drove in the Valencia round of the F3 Euroseries, winning in only his second race in the championship.
Magnussen spent another year in F3 in 2011 - this time in the more prestigious British championship with Carlin. He finished as runner-up to team-mate Felipe Nasr, but did finish the year as the driver with the most poles, fastest laps and laps led.
Staying with Carlin, the Dane moved to Formula Renault 3.5 in 2012, taking one win and two further podiums on his way to seventh in the Drivers' Championship.
That season also saw him promoted to the role of Development Driver at McLaren and he topped the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi on his first outing in the MP4-27.
Magnussen continued to impress through the three-day event, with Sporting Director Sam Michael enthusing afterwards: "Given his performance, he certainly didn't look like a guy who had never turned a wheel in a modern F1 car before the start of this week!"
Magnussen stayed in FR3.5 in 2013, but switched to the DAMS team and clinched the title with a race to spare having only finished off the podium three times all season (excluding his disqualification after taking victory at Paul Ricard).
He also drove for McLaren at the Silverstone Young Driver test in July, when his speed was, once again, immediately apparent as he set the pace on Day One.
Perhaps just as significantly, Magnussen finished the test as the fastest McLaren driver, and tenth overall in the end-of-test timesheets.
Nor is there any doubt that Magnussen is short of confidence or self-belief. "I feel I'm ready. I have won in everything I have driven in so why would that change in Formula 1?" the youngster told reporters at the Indian GP in October.
McLaren evidently believe in his talent and state of readiness, with news breaking at the start of November that the 21-year-old had emerged as a serious contender to replace Perez.