Kevin Magnussen says he returns to F1 ready to prove a point
Axed McLaren man says F1 return with Renault "means so much"
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 03/02/16 4:51pm
Kevin Magnussen says he is returning to F1 with a 'point to prove' after being officially confirmed as a driver for Renault's new works team in 2016.
As expected, the 23-year-old former McLaren driver was unveiled alongside Briton Jolyon Palmer at Renault's launch event in Paris on Wednesday, after Pastor Maldonado's contract was ended when the Venezuelan's backers fell behind with payments.
Magnussen had been facing at least a year in the F1 wilderness after being dropped as reserve driver by McLaren at the end of last season. However, the Dane is now delighted to be back on the grid - particularly with such an established F1 manufacturer.
"It's come out of the blue a little bit, it's been a bit of a surprise to be back with such a strong company, but I can't wait to get back in the car," Magnussen told Sky Sports News HQ.
"It's an incredible feeling and it means so much. It's not only a Formula 1 drive but it's a top drive. Renault Sport will be fighting for world championships in the future, it might have a build-up phase, but they're here to win and that's a goal I share. I can't believe I'm now a part of it."
Having originally joined McLaren's young driver programme in 2010, Magnussen was promoted to a race seat in 2014 and made a spectacular start to his F1 career when he finished second at his first race in Australia - the best result for a debutant in 18 years.
However, the youngster's form proved inconsistent thereafter and he finished the year with less than half of team-mate Jenson Button's points, although the pair were more closely matched in qualifying.
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The arrival of Fernando Alonso meant Magnussen dropped down to a reserve role for 2015, and although he did fill in for a recuperating Spaniard at the first race in Australia, his car broke down on the way to the grid and he did not take the start.
With GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne also on their books, McLaren decided not to renew Magnussen's contract - delivering the news to the Dane via email on his birthday.
"Hopefully I'll prove many points. I'm extremely motivated after a whole year away," he said.
"I've been sitting on the sideline during the races for so many weekends and I'm hungry to come back and prove my worth. I've raced my whole life and I'm extremely hungry and keen to get in a race car again and even more so with Renault Sport!"
Although Magnussen has not raced since November 2014, he believes the fitness training he was able to complete throughout last year means he is "physically ready" for a full F1 return. And despite his relative youth, he reckons he has a lot to offer Renault.
"I have a lot to give," he added. "I've been connected to a top Formula 1 team for five years and three of those were in Formula 1 in driving and testing capacities. Despite just one season racing, I've got good experience. I can't wait to get started at a great project such as a Renault factory team. I'm pleased to be a part of it.
"Not many drivers get a second chance in F1. I was looking at other things because there was a chance I would not be back in F1. Looking back at that compared where I've ended up is pretty cool. I have to thank Renault for giving me this opportunity."
Kevin Magnussen's F1 record
|Grand Prix appearances||20|
|Best result||2nd (2014 Australian GP)|
|Best qualifying||4th (x2)|
|Best championship finish||11th, 55 points (2014)|
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