McLaren's Kevin Magnussen reckons F1 2014 'very good' time for rookie to join grid
Young Dane also plays down Lewis Hamilton comparison
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 24/01/14 3:45pm
The 21-year-old Dane replaces Sergio Perez in McLaren's line-up for the new campaign after impressing the Woking-based outfit during his title-winning Formula Renault 3.5 season last year.
The scale of F1's regulations overhaul for 2014, and the fresh challenges it will present to driver in the cockpit as a result, has been viewed in some quarters as putting a premium on having a line-up with as much experience as possible - something McLaren's perennial rivals Ferrari made clear was behind their decision to re-hire Kimi Raikkonen.
But despite being paired with a team-mate himself in Jenson Button who is 13 years his senior and a veteran of nearly 250 grands prix, Magnussen, one of three rookies on the 2014 grid, thinks the field starts from a level playing field.
"I think the situation is very good for a rookie. Everything is quite new, the car is very different, and that's going to help the rookies," the Dane told Sky Sports News at the launch of McLaren's MP4-29.
"It's a good opportunity. I can't underestimate that I am a rookie, so therefore I need to work really hard. There is a lot to learn for me still - you never stop learning.
"I am a rookie but the cars are going to be very different and the experience that the drivers would have had with the old car for the last five or six years is pretty much gone. Everyone will have to learn how to drive these new cars, so that's a positive thing."
Magnussen's swift ascension through McLaren's Young Driver Programme to an F1 seat has been likened to that of 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who graduated to the Woking outfit at the age of 22.
The team's latest protege, though, made clear he is very much his own man.
"I'm not really comparing myself to Lewis, I'm just trying to do absolutely the best that I can," Magnussen insisted. "I'm pretty positive for the season but not really comparing to anyone really."
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests, starting in Jerez on Tuesday January 28, with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News.