Kevin Magnussen in profile
Last Updated: 30/03/16 3:03pm
Kevin Magnussen thought his F1 career was over before it had barely begun after being dropped by McLaren, but just weeks before 2016 pre-season testing began was handed a racing lifeline by Renault on the French manufacturer's return as a constructor team.
Pastor Maldonado loss is certainly the likeable Magnussen's immeasurable gain and the target for the young Dane is to show he deserves a long-term place at motorsport's top table after showing flashes of promise during his one year of racing in F1 in 2014.
The son of former F1 driver Jan, whose own career in the 1990s had ended at 25 following one race for McLaren and an undistinguished stint at Stewart, Magnussen Jr finished second on his debut in Australia - which remains the best finish by a rookie at the season-opener since 1996.
Eleven other points finishes showed why then-McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh had described him a "lightning quick" on his promotion to a race seat alongside Jenson Button.
Born on October 5, 1992 in Roskilde in Denmark, Magnussen, like most race drivers, 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. Kevin also drove in the Valencia round of the F3 Euroseries, winning 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 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).
With Sergio Perez failing to convince in McLaren's senior team, Magnussen was promoted straight into the F1 team for 2014 alongside 2009 world champion Button. Outperforming the experienced Briton throughout his debut race weekend, Magnussen appeared to announce the arrival of a future F1 star by qualifying fourth and finishing third - which later became a stunning second when Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified.
But while he shaped up well relative to Button in qualifying, the veteran proved far more consistent over a full race distance and more than doubled Magnussen's points tally during the year.
Still, with Button in the twilight of his career, it looked as though McLaren chairman Ron Dennis favoured sticking with Magnussen for a second campaign alongside the returning Fernando Alonso. However, after a protracted period of deliberation, it was the youngster who lost out and reserve driver duties beckoned for 2015.
And from that Magnussen's McLaren career would never recover. Although he filled in for Alonso at the final test and the Australia season-opener following the Spaniard's Barcelona accident, he was on the racing sidelines all year before being informed - via email on his 23rd birthday! - his contract was not being renewed.
A sportscar programme for 2016 beckoned before Renault threw 'K-Mag' an F1 lifeline.