Kevin Magnussen could be left with no role at all in F1 in 2016, after McLaren-Honda showed him the door.
Team boss Eric Boullier on Friday hit back at suggestions the Dane was actually “fired”, amid reports it was Ron Dennis’ secretary who broke the bad news via email — on Magnussen’s birthday. “As far as the process, I will not comment,” Boullier said in Austin. “His contract was ending this year, there was an option to renew and we decided not to for several reasons.”
One of those reasons, we have learned, is that McLaren has definitely decided to replace Magnussen as reserve driver with Stoffel Vandoorne, the new GP2 champion. Lotus has also closed the door on Magnussen by signing Jolyon Palmer, and the Danish newspaper BT reports that the final option for Magnussen could be a reserve driver role with another team — but with no actual driving guaranteed.
If that happens, “It would be a travesty”, Magnussen’s former boss in British formula 3, Trevor Carlin, told the Danish newspaper BT. “The other day someone asked me which driver Kevin’s driving style most reminded me of,” he said. “I had a good think about it before I answered, and then I answered truthfully. ‘Ayrton Senna’.
“Any driver who finishes second in his very first formula one race should be a permanent fixture in a competitive formula one team’s race seat,” Carlin added. “It would be a travesty if Kevin fails to find a formula one race drive next year, because he’s very definitely world champion material, mark my words,” he said.