Marcus Ericsson, DAMS, GP2, 2013

Introducing F1’s three new drivers for 2014

2014 F1 season

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The departures of Mark Webber, Paul di Resta, Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde have cleared the way for some new blood in the F1 field this year.

While Kamui Kobayashi makes a return with Caterham, the remaining spaces have been filled by three new drivers.

Here’s an introduction to the three rookies in the 2014 F1 field.

McLaren: Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 2013Kevin Magnussen is F1′s latest second-generation driver.

He follows in the footsteps of father Jan who also made his F1 debut with McLaren, in 1995. While that was a one-off drive in place of an unwell Mika Hakkinen, the younger Magnussen should get more time to prove himself.

But he will be well aware his opportunity has arisen because McLaren cut Sergio Perez loose after just one season. He know he needs to impress quickly.

Magnussen heads into his first F1 campaign following a deeply impressive performance in Formula Renault 3.5 last year, where he won the championship. It’s unusual for McLaren to hire a rookie driver, and Martin Whitmarsh has said they previously reached an agreement to place him at another team this year, before their rivals went back on the deal.

Comparisons will inevitably be drawn between him and McLaren’s last rookie Lewis Hamilton, who caused a sensation by nearly winning the title in his first year with the team.

Toro Rosso: Daniil Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Circuit of the Americas, 2013Magnussen’s Formula Renault rival Antonio Felix da Costa was widely expected to be Red Bull’s preferred choice for the next available place at Toro Rosso. So there was considerable surprise when Daniil Kvyat was confirmed in the team’s squad.

Kvyat is the second Russian driver to compete in Formula One after Vitaly Petrov. As Sochi will hold Russia’s first round of the world championship this year, some believed Toro Rosso promoted Kvyat above Da Costa for commercial reasons.

But while Da Costa faltered last year, Kvyat was in strong form. Competing in both Formula Three and GP3 he won the latter championship and was a race-winner in the former.

Russia being such a vast nation, Kvyat’s home town of Ufa is some 1,700km north-east of the Russian Grand Prix venue. High standards are expected of Red Bull’s junior drivers and Helmut Marko will be eager for clear signs of progress from Kvyat long before his home race in October.

Caterham: Marcus Ericsson

Marcus Ericsson, DAMS, GP2, 2013Not since Stefan Johansson dragged his Footwork, lumbered with a grossly overweight Porsche V12 engine, into the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix has Sweden had a representative on the Formula One grid.

Bjorn Wirdheim came close ten years ago, driving in practice sessions for Jaguar. But Wirdheim, who dominated the 2003 Formula 3000 championship despite comically throwing away a certain win at Monaco, never started an F1 race.

Marcus Ericsson, who is set to end Sweden’s absence from grand prix racing, didn’t manage to win F1′s current top feeder series GP2 despite four attempts. However he does have a pair of single-seater championships to his name having taken the 2007 Formula BMW UK crown and 2009 Japanese Formula Three title.

Ericsson has shown good pace at times but has sometimes struggled to sustain it over a full season. He’s a bit light on F1 testing experience as well, having previously driven for Brawn in 2009.

Over to you

Have you decided you’ll be supporting any of F1′s new drivers this year? Here’s how to do so on F1 Fanatic:

  • Log in with your F1 Fanatic account
  • Select Edit My Profile from the top-right menu
  • Select F1 Teams and Drivers
  • Make your selection then click “Save Changes”

What do you make of the rookie class of 2014? Have your say in the comments.

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Images © McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty, GP2/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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59 comments on “Introducing F1’s three new drivers for 2014”

  1. Somehow, I think both Kevin and Daniil will impress.

    1. @jcost “Somehow” as in, because basically everybody has praised them inmensively and have great results on their careers?

      Uncanny! :0

      1. @silence Indeed.

        Actually I was following both GP3 and WSR 3.5 last year and I was impressed by both drivers.

        I’m a citizen of two countries, Angola and Portugal, and Angola happens to have a driver in GP3 (Luis Sá Silva, Carlin) and Portugal had its best F1 prospect was in WSR 3.5 and while sheering for my fellow countrymen I got noticed of the talents of Magnussen and Daniil (and I was expecting to see him beating Carlos Sainz Jr who was a F3 driver like Sá Silva in 2012).

        Even though I’d rather see Feliz da Costa as JEV teammate, I can’t deny Daniil Kvyat is a good driver.

  2. Hyped to see Magnussen in action. He’s supposed to be very, very good on the simulator, and to be quite good with the engineers. Assuming McLaren can bring back its previous form, it will be nice to see a new (supposed) star on a top car.

    The current top of the grid in good teams (Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Rosberg and Button) make for a fascinating group, but it will be nice to see a new face between them.

    Shame Hulkenberg couldn’t join them this year.

  3. Excellent idea to emphasise the rookie class – it always has the potential to be an exciting topic throughout the season, especially if their competition is close and their storylines develop unexpected and dramatic patterns.

  4. Wow – amazing to have two all-new scandinavians in F1. As a scandinavian myself, I really look forward to 2014 with scandinavian driver in key F1 teams!

    Ohh good times =)

    1. in key F1 teams

  5. Even though Ericsson is easily the most underwhelming of the three, his promotion makes much more sense to me than the others. Caterham needed a pay driver, as their 11th placed WCC ranking proved, and because they were not keen on hiring Sirotkin, Canamasas or Cecotto, and now that OGX, the brand that sponsors Felipe Nasr, has gone bust, Ericsson was really the only feasible option. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have run out of pay drivers. Ericsson is also a perfectly decent, if not spectacular racing driver, so all in all his promotion makes a great deal of sense to me. The promotions of Kvyat and Magnussen however, do not.

    I really hope Daniil Kvyat doesn’t turn out to be the next Jaime Algersuari. Kvyat put together some brilliant performances in the final few rounds of the 2013 GP3 series of which he eventually became champion, but before that he was rather anonymous. Kvyat was also rather ordinary in the Young Driver Test, whilst Da Costa and particularly Sainz excelled. I also don’t think Red Bull can look at Da Costa’s 2013 campaign and think that it is at all representative of his talents, especially since Arden Caterham have repeatedly been saying that they can’t get the car back in the window they had it in 2012, and with setup being utterly paramount in FR3.5 in 2013, I think Red Bull can only congratulate Da Costa for still managing to win three times, despite effectively having one hand tied behind his back. And doesn’t the fact that Da Costa was right up there with Ricciardo’s Red Bull pace at Silverstone this year rather demean the argument that there was anything other than a tangible reason for Da Costa’s lackluster season? I never thought I’d say this regarding Red Bull with all their money and might, but this is clearly a commercially motivated decision, and is building on the “WE NEED A RUSSIAN AT THE RUSSIAN GP!” fever.

    Don’t get me wrong, Kvyat is a mighty fine driver, but it is, in my opinion, a bit early to be promoting him to F1. He needed a season in FR3.5, so he gets some kind of experience of F1ish power, and let’s remember GP3 was a huge power jump from his previous series (Formula Renault 2.0) anyway. In fact just weeks before Kvyat was announced Franz Tost said Kvyat wasn’t in the running for the seat because he was not ready. Premature promotion certainly has the potential to ruin what could be a fabulous career in F1, and that really is a shame, because at times over the past year, you could be mistaken for thinking we had some kind of megastar on our hands with Kvyat.

    However what it even more vexing is the promotion of Kevin Magnussen. Now before I delve headlong into why, I must first qualify the fact that I thought Perez’s signing was a knee-jerk in itself. Clearly, and no rational employee of McLaren would deny this, it should have been Hulkenberg. However hindsight is a wonderful thing, and in light of the fact that they made something of a blunder by not signing Hulkenberg, you would imagine they would offer Sergio the courtesy of a comprehensive evaluation, but even though he did a perfectly good job, in fact as good as they good have expected, a Draconian engineer vote unfairly consigned Perez to a shameful list of drivers that also includes Michael Andretti and Kovalainen. But with Perez gone, McLaren found themselves an second chance of getting Hulkenberg in their car. Did they take it? No. I will never know why they chose Magnussen over Hulkenberg, and why they didn’t try harder to get Magnussen into Force India. Where McLaren manacled by their obligations to their driver programme? Were Red Bull too in that they signed Ricciardo over Raikkonen? I bet Ferrari is pleased that it doesn’t have a driver programme as such…

    1. @william-brierty

      he did a perfectly good job

      That’s arguable, and not many people agree with that. Common is that he did “just enough to deserve a second chance”, as Eddie Jordan so nicely said, but there again, McLaren doesn’t base their decisions on what what you think but on a bunch of information we have absolute no access to.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        22nd January 2014, 7:57

        @silence – In essence what I’m saying there is that Perez did a perfectly decent job for a driver I never really rated in the first place. Perez’s 2012 form was distorted by the genuinely fabulous C31, a car that I think was right up there with the E20 in 2012, but when Sauber tailed off at the end of the season, so did Sergio, and it was precisely at that moment that every single member of McLaren started wishing they had signed Hulkenberg. I presume the Young Driver Test at Silverstone showed that Magnussen had more potential than Perez, and on that basis it was not worth paying Force India just so they could keep a slower driver. That was the McLaren thought process, although they presumably didn’t have any of Hulkenberg’s data…

    2. @william-brierty

      I bet Ferrari is pleased that it doesn’t have a driver programme as such…

      Excuse me, but I’m not fully sure if you’re stating that Ferrari don’t run a young driver programme, or that their YDP is run in a different way.
      If it’s the former, they actually do have one, it’s called the Ferrari Driver Academy.
      If it’s the latter, how do you think Ferrari’s program differs from for instance Red Bull or McLaren?

      1. @infinitygc – Yes, it is run a different way. Unlike Red Bull and McLaren, who provide both financial support but also support with contractual negotiations and choosing teams (Red Bull also provides a commercial sponsorship package), Ferrari provide only financial support. The case of Raffaele Marciello is slightly different in that they are working very closely with him to progress his career because he might just be the next big thing, although now they have placed him in GP2 I expect they will start to put more focus on Antonio Fuoco. I suppose that it the defining feature of the Ferrari Driver Academy; it doesn’t line drivers up outside the gates of F1 like Red Bull and McLaren do, just gives the select few a financial helping hand up the ladder.

        1. Jules Bianchi? They got him the Marussia seat if I recall correctly

          1. @malcolmtucker – Yes, they provided him with funds so he could make the step to F1, but Force India approached Bianchi in 2012 and offered him the reserve role (I think Ferrari would have preferred him as the Sauber reserve – which is sort of their unofficial junior team) and after he lost the 2013 seat to Sutil and Razia’s sponsors failed to pay up, he was the next logical step for Marussia, and Ferrari had no part in pushing him into that seat. I think Ferrari retained their ties with Bianchi even after he joined Marussia because they soon realized it would lead to an engine deal for 2014, however, in Perez’s case, Ferrari dropped him from the programme the second he moved to McLaren.

    3. I read some different articles, can’t remember where as it is some months ago. But they were about Kvyat being very good at giving feedback and helping with setting the car up, which might be why he was picked over Da Costa.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        22nd January 2014, 8:08

        @malthe92 – I have heard the exact same thing about Da Costa. I simply think it is one of the criteria you need in order to become a Red Bull Young Driver, as Ricciardo and Algersuari arguably prove. Really the only reason Da Costa wasn’t picked is because he didn’t win the FR3.5 title, but as Arden Caterham have repeatedly said, there is a very good reason for that. Setup is phenomenally prevalent in single seaters at the moment, so whilst Arden was struggling in FR3.5, it had really found the sweet spot in GP3, with both Kvyat and his teammate Sainz being invariably the fastest cars on track in the final three rounds of last year’s championship. The term “knee-jerk” was invented for this situation.

    4. @william-brierty, as far as i can remember, i don’t often agree with your opinions, but this time, you hit the nail on the head. You summed-up the situation very well. Especially about Mclaren not hiring Hulkenberg for 2014, that’s the second time they drop this great opportunity.

      1. @me4me – I’m glad I’m becoming so infamously controversial! What did you disagree with me about last time?

    5. I really think you should research the reasons for signing Magnussen just a little before you write up this many errors about it.

      To state that with Perez gone; Mac found themselves with another opportunity to sign Hulkenberg makes no sense when the fact is that Perez was directly removed only to make room for Magnussen who was always going to get the seat, only depending on performance at which he over-delivered.

      Whitmarsh has not even tried to hide that he informed Perez very early that he was not under threat from anyone on the grid; however, he was under threat from the outside the grid and his performance was going to be evaluated accordingly.

      Yes, you will know why they chose Magnussen over Hulkenberg because I will tell you right now and it is quite simple: They see Magnussen as their future ace, someone who can take the fight right to Seb’s doorstep and beyond it, someone who has improved and matured at an incredible rate, and someone who will provide high quality feedback with loyalty for more than just a single season in case they don’t get it right in the first attempt with the new regulations.

      Could they possibly have expected that from Hulkenberg? Of course not.

      1. @poul – Yes, you are right in that Perez was removed so he could be replaced by Magnussen, as I clearly acknowledge in my post where I refer to the engineer vote where Magnussen was chosen, on the basis of his 2013 Young Driver Test only, over Perez. However my argument takes issue with a) the fact that Perez was removed after a perfectly decent season and that he was b) replaced with Magnussen not Hulkenberg.

        Please don’t level a lack of research at me whilst all the while grossly overestimating Kevin Magnussen’s potential. Yes, he is quick. Yes, he is mature and technically competent, but don’t be mistaken into thinking we have the next Vettel, Hamilton, Hulkenberg or Rosberg. Unlike those drivers Magnussen has not even remotely ridden atop a crest a wave of junior category dominance, so to suggest that a man that took two attempts to win the FR3.5 championship after a lackluster 2012 season (and after Frijns, Bird and Bianchi conveniently went elsewhere) will soon be able to challenge a man that won in FR3.5 in his first race, Vettel, is just plain fanciful.

        It is, however, difficult to overestimate Nico Hulkenberg. As research I’m sure will tell you, Nico has one of, if not the finest record of any driver in the junior categories. Couple that with F1 results that are strikingly similar to those of Vettel during his Toro Rosso days, excellent technical understanding and the fact that he has a very mature head on young shoulders and there really can be no doubt that Hulkenberg’s results would have been substancially better than Magnussen’s had he got the seat. I really don’t there is anyone else on this blog that would deny that.

        Could we have expected a man that was on pole in a Williams, so nearly won a race in a Force India and is clearly a future world champion to take McLaren’s fight “to Seb’s doorstep”? Blatantly.

        1. @william-brierty it is remarkable that you can deem Magnussen’s 2012 campaign lackluster while calling Perez’s 2013 season perfectly decent. We actually had the exact same argument when Magnussen was first announced for 2014 and I also told you the same thing, apparently to no avail: please look a bit deeper than just the result of the series you obviously did not follow.

          What is way more interesting, especially to McLaren, than “finest junior record” is the constant improvement, high attention to detail and excessive will to succeed. Besides, I am not mistaking anything, I am basically reciting Whitmarsh’s reasoning from an interview on Danish TV.

          Attempting to prove that Hulkenberg would greatly outperform Magnussen by speaking on behalf of everyone else on the blog but me, is… shall we say “a bit thin”. Especially since McLaren is then somehow the only entity carrying my opinion against the entire blog. Please….

          The fact is that McLaren sees Kevin as the future and even if Hulkenberg would be a more reliable choice for first half of 2014 I wouldn’t be so certain for second half and certainly not 2015 if I were you.

          Don’t get me wrong; I am not trying to take anything away from Nico, but apparently not a single top team regards him as highly as you do.

          Clearly a future champion…. yeah, a lot of those have been chewed up and spat out over the years.

          1. @poul – The really was a quite beautiful display of historical revisionism at its finest. If you read my previous posts at no point do I say that I thought Perez was all that special a racing driver, in fact I say that McLaren should have signed Hulkenberg instead. Perez’s performance was decent for a driver I never really rated in the first place and I thought it warranted a second season of evaluation, but Magnussen’s 2012 campaign was lackluster for a driver you appear to be suggesting is Ayrton Senna reborn. Strange that this iteration of Senna struggled for raw pace relative to Frijns, Bianchi and Da Costa…sometimes Bird even…

            OK, the “the constant improvement, high attention to detail and excessive will to succeed” is all very important, but you seem to be under the impression that this is now a set of institutions exclusive to your new favourite driver. Has Hulkenberg not shown constant improvement? Do his excellent performances not suggest an attention to detail or an excessive will to succeed?

            Not a single top team regards Hulkenberg as highly as I do? Well that’s not right is it, as the fact that only a driver as brilliant as Raikkonen could dissuade Ferrari from signing him last year proves. If Ferrari had signed Hulkenberg, I would have imagined that Alonso would have faced the greatest threat to his supremacy since 2007, however I can’t forsee Button having too many issues finishing ahead of Kevin this season. Whilst Magnussen is a fabulous young racing driver, he is just not the young McLaren protege like Hamilton, Raikkonen or Hakkinen that you seem convinced he is.

            However the crux of the issue here is McLaren’s motivation to promote him. You have put a lot of faith in McLaren’s choice being purely based on performance grounds, but unfortunately much of it is obligation and money. McLaren in my opinion were manacled by an obligation to their young driver programme, and given the fact that the Young Driver Test presumably showed that Magnussen had more potential than Perez, it was simply not worth paying Force India to take Magnussen so they could keep a driver that is slower. However none of that demeans the fact that McLaren would most likely be better off with Hulkenberg, and the fact I am utterly certain that most of this blog (who clearly seem to have not been otherwise engaged whilst Hulkenberg was doing things like putting a Sauber third on the grid at Monza like you seen to have been) would emphatically agree with me on that point is not remotely thin.

            Assuming you don’t have the data from Magnussen’s Silverstone test, it certainly is a bit thin to predict a big future for Magnussen based purely on McLaren’s die-hard faith (which is rather demeaned by the fact that they had faith in a driver as ordinary as Perez) and his junior category results. Didn’t Piquet Jnr do quite well in the junior divisions?

          2. My friend, @william-brierty I cannot take this discussion seriously when you can turn the exact repetition of your own words about Perez into a sarcastic

            quite beautiful display of historical revisionism at its finest

            and rely on self-invented fantasy concepts such as McLaren’s

            obligation to their young driver programme


            Please tell me you don’t honestly believe that McLaren, with all their might, money and obligations to sponsors feel more obliged to honor an assisting side institution of their own creation than to putting the fastest man they can get in the seat! I mean….. please, man!

            You are twisting the facts when you claim that it was not worth paying FI to take KM because it was never about paying – the agreement was already made.

            And no, I don’t need Kevin’s test data when I know that his third ever Abu Dhabi lap would have placed him sixth on the grid. (Perez/Button started 8th/12th.)

          3. @poul – I appear to have overestimated the acumen of this site. Actually maybe this is just an individual issue, owing to the fact that the idea of driver programme obligation is being quite reasonably accepted by other readers, especially with 2013 throwing up several examples of just that.

            Do I believe that McLaren feel obliged to honor an assisting side institution of their own creation than to putting the fastest man they can get in the seat? Yes I do! Are McLaren, “with all their might, money and obligations to sponsors”, about to spend millions on a driver programme, find a young talent like Magnussen, and then sign another driver randomly? No. It is not more beneficial to their brand, and to their sponsors, to have a home grown protege, a patron of the McLaren trademark in their car rather than someone who is marginally faster? Obviously. F1 is a about maximizing performance, but it is also about maximizing profit in tandem, and Magnussen’s promotion made a great deal of financial and commercial sense, whilst having the added effect of freeing up space within McLaren’s programme.

            We can see an identical scenario at Red Bull, with the team facing trivializing massive investment in their programme by choosing Raikkonen, and with Da Costa and Kvyat queuing outside Toro Rosso, Ricciardo’s promotion was the only logical choice in that it dissolved the backlog in their programme. These are decisions made at managerial level, so it is not just performances that are considered, and in both cases, even though you may believe otherwise, performance was a lesser factor, and when performance is not the primary concern, the fans are the victims. This is basic stuff, man…

            And please, if you are going to hurtle throwaways like “self-invented fantasy concepts” and “twisting the facts” then please, qualify your allegations. My line regarding Perez has not changed. He didn’t deserve the seat, but even though he did get it, he deserved a second year of evaluation following a solid season. That is an opinion, there are no facts to twist or concepts to invent. There are also no misconstrued attempts at comparing apples with apples, or random references to a lap a driver did in testing without any information regarding what year, what chassis, track conditions or tyre compounds…

            As you seem to like random facts, did you know that Bottas set a faster laptime during the Young Driver Test in the week after the 2012 British Grand Prix than had been set during the event, despite a dry FP3?

            Frankly, if you realize only that you are in holding of a very unconventional opinion by thinking Magnussen will do a better job than Hulkenberg could have hypothetically have done he had gone to McLaren by the end of this discussion, then I will have played my part well.

        2. @william-brierty It’s certainly looks like a lack of research on your part. Did Vettel win the FR3.5 at all? He did not. He was beaten in F3 by team-mate PdR, a guy kicked out of F1 unfortunately today, as well. That’s not a jab at Vettel but a criticism of your post. Clearly Vettel was not a future Vettel by your logic. Rosberg also didn’t have as stellar junior record as you paint it be. Certainly he lost to Hamilton a lot.

          So, KM’s not ridden the crest of dominance? Wow, he’s a no hoper then. Or maybe, just maybe, the Mclaren engineers know their stuff a bit better than an armchair expert such as yourself. After all they’ve worked with young guns such as Hamilton and Raikkonen before. And they’d worked(at least some of them) with a driver who was more dominant than Senna in junior categories yet failed miserably in F1, one Jan Magnussen. So they know what it takes, and not always the domination of junior categories is a reliable factor in itself

          Also this part “so to suggest that a man that took two attempts to win the FR3.5 championship after a lackluster 2012 season (and after Frijns, Bird and Bianchi conveniently went elsewhere) ” is plain rubbish, I’m sorry to say. I’d seen every race of the FR3.5 in 2012 and KM wasn’t lackluster at all. Inconsistent maybe but his speed was not in doubt. He has retired from 7 out of 17 races, the most of any driver in the top 20(!) of the championship, including losing a dominant win at Hungary on the last lap because of tech troubles, of which his season had a lot. He was also the least experienced at this level of all the drivers you’d mentioned except Frijns. Now do you know who was the last driver prior to Frijns (whom btw, I don’t agree he actually won it at all as he rammed Bianchi of the road to do it) to win FR3.5 at his first attempt? That was Kubica in 2005. Same goes for GP2(Hamilton-2006, Hulkenberg-2009). It’s very rare for a driver to win at his first attempt.

          Also, you imply that this year’s FR3.5 field was weak. That’s also wrong. Da Costa was there, after the way 2012 ended everyone was sure the title was his to lose. In fact everyone was sure that had he been around for the whole of 2012 he would run rings around Frijns, Bird and Bianchi. Did he suddenly forget how to drive? Vandoorne was there too. 3 guys who were supposed to be fighting for the championship the same number who fought in 2012, but KM made it a no contest, and given the way he drove in 2013, it does not require a huge amount of faith to believe he can be on the pace in F1 from the get go

          Now, I’m a fan of the Hulk myself. I think it’s as clear as anything he’s a WDC in waiting. I also think that signing Perez instead of him was rubbish and also they should’ve put KM in a smaller team for now (they actually tried to do that, but failed) and put the Hulk in a Mclaren. But I also understand their point: they see KM as the next big thing, they don’t want to lose him to a rival and they feel that the change of regulations is a good time to start in F1 as it’s a new thing for everybody and not just a rookie. He’s a member of their junior program, the Hulk is not. RBR could’ve signed Raikkonen for this year yet they chose DR because he was from their own academy.
          Given all of the above, and despite wanting NH to get a top seat ASAP, I can’t really blame Mclaren for their decision. And there’s no need to belittle KM in the way you did, as much as I agree with you that the fact NH isn’t in a top team yet is unfair

          1. @montreal95 – You clearly have issues reading so allow me. I said Vettel won his first ever race in FR3.5, not the championship, although he certainly would have taken the championship in 2007 had he not been drafted in to replace Kubica at BMW.

            Also the rather mute point you make about McLaren knowing more than me fails to take into account the fundamentals like the fact that they don’t have Hulkenberg’s data. All McLaren knew was that Magnussen had more potential than Perez, and therefore it was not worthwhile paying Force India to take Magnussen just so they could keep a slower driver. For me that was the key motivation of Kevin’s promotion. McLaren were essentially manacled by their driver programme, as you mention in your final paragraph.

            Regarding Magnussen in FR3.5, whilst yes, it was perhaps unfair to call his season lackluster, it was a season in which he clearly displayed that he could only inconsistently match the raw pace of Frijns, Bianchi and Da Costa. Yes, I agree the 2013 field wasn’t poor, but it would have been (as I explain in my original post) a much closer battle had Arden Caterham not had such a catastrophic season in terms of car setup, and owing to the fact that it is such a prevalent factor in modern FR3.5, Da Costa didn’t stand a chance. Did he forget how to drive? No, as his excellent runs in the RB9 prove.

            Yes, rookie champions are rare, but that is level of driver I expect if they are going to be parachuted into McLaren. And even though Magnussen is absolutely 100% F1 material, he doesn’t deserve to be immediately put in a top team, especially if it is to the detriment of an incredible racing driver like Hulkenberg. I’m not belittling Magnussen by saying that, just lending some perspective.

          2. @william-brierty “Vettel would’ve clearly won the championship” in 2007 is a bold statement, considering he re-took the lead of the championship in his final round in the series only thanks to erstwhile leader and eventual championship winner’s Parente’s double retirement in Hungaroring(SV finished 3rd/4th). He may have won it in the end but it was a very big fight between Vettel and Parente(a hugely underrated driver btw, sorry for OT)

            Now, let’s assume you’re right that Mclaren don’t have an access to info about the Hulk(not sure if they can’t get it at all but let’s assume for the sake of the argument they can’t) to say that all they know is KM>Perez is wrong. You clearly have missed what I wrote of the Mclaren’s rich previous experience with young guns. So, they clearly can see greatness in him and are wildly more qualified to make a judgement than you and me. It’s far from a moot point. And if they see a potential great coming out of their junior program then what do they care about Hulkenberg and his merits? F1 is not a Hulk-benefit society and Mclaren don’t care if their promoting of KM is to the detriment of the Hulk(nor should they). Obviously the proof is in the pudding and if KM fails to impress fingers will be pointed out(as with the Perez decision), and rightly so but to point fingers now already isn’t merited even for frustrated Hulk fans.

            Again, in your opinion a driver should be dominating in junior categories to be parachuted straight into Mclaren, but I disagree. As clearly the case of KM’s father proves this is not always a reliable indicator. They’re looking for a skill set of a driver able to be top tier in F1 and they think they have it in KM. Let’s see how it goes before judging that they are “manacled” by the program instead of “enhanced” by it

          3. @montreal95 – Actually, you may have made some valid points there. Certainly, in this era of tyre degradation and technical prevalence, the raw speed utterly paramount to a successful campaign in a series like FR3.5 is a lesser factor in modern F1 and therefore, as you say, junior category results don’t necessarily translate into F1 potential. Vettel frankly serves as an example of this, because as you demonstrate by saying that Vettel would not have necessarily won the FR3.5, he was not the sensation outside of F1 that he was once he was in F1. Maybe Magnussen will be like Seb…

            However, Hulkenberg has proved that he is a fantastically pragmatic and versatile driver. Upon arriving in F1 in 2010 Hulkenberg was a speed machine, however now he is very much the complete racing driver. Combative, consistent, fast in the wet and easy on the tyres is going to be a difficult list of attributes for Magnussen to beat, especially since I now think that Hulkenberg is probably a better driver than Rosberg and Button.

            However, regarding McLaren, as demonstrated with Perez and Kovalainen, they’ve hardly been universally successful with young drivers. And it is frankly a touch naive to look at Magnussen and assume he will join a list of drivers including Hamilton and Raikkonen. McLaren’s judgement was entirely based on the Silverstone Young Driver Test, which presumably showed that Magnussen had more potential than Perez, and it therefore made no sense to pay Force India to field a driver faster than the one they had. However for me, that sets a dangerous precedent. Do McLaren need pages of data before signing a driver now? For me that is McLaren being manacled by their Driver Programme. Also, because these decisions are made at managerial level the commercial benefits of having a home grown protege, especially with Hamilton’s rookie year still in memory, supersede those of having a driver who is marginally faster. I understand why McLaren chose Magnussen, its motives are perfectly logical, but not having Hulkenberg in the seat, when there is no real reason for him not being there, is yet another poke in the eye for fans…

          4. @william-brierty Sorry for the hugely delayed reply. I agree with your first 2 paragraphs completely and am also sure the Hulk is better than Rosberg and Button

            But, how do you know Mclaren had chosen KM purely on the back of the young driver test? It was mentioned as an eye opener for them, yes, but I’m sure there’s much more going on behind the scenes.

            The fact that Mclaren were not always succesful with young drivers should not be counted against them in this particular case. Because you can learn as much from bad experiences than from good ones, maybe more. Again we should wait and see what transpires from their recent decision before we judge it’s merits from Mclaren’s point of view

            I’m with you on Hulk completely mate and very frustrated he haven’t got a top seat he so clearly deserves yet. Still I hope for the best in the future for him in that regard. Not everyone ends up in a top seat at 23 even from top drivers. He can still become a multiple champion

    6. I would just add that you have to see things from the perspective of each team involved to understand their decisions.

      Red Bull – Being in F1 at all (and winning of course) is a commercial decision in itself, just like sponsoring Sauber back in the day (and not paying for part of that time – DM must be Bernie-like at negotiating). Kvyat was right up there in karts a few years ago, and now has come on dominant in GP3 as the season wore on. So, despite less experience, he is there on pace, like Vettel in 2007. He’ll probably be Seb’s replacement in a few years if needed.. and that the Russian angle helps him (probably with backing/branding as well) is beneficial (just makes the decision easier).

      Felix da Costa is rated, and hence lined up to be the new test driver (guessing Buemi will move full-time to WEC/Formula E if RB prefer FdC eventually), if not part of a test team (they can afford two testers of course, like McLaren have). Portuguese drivers also struggle to make an impression in F1, as their market is dominated by Brazilian drivers instead (Massa, Senna, Nasr).

      Generally, when you are ‘in form’, the increase in power will just amplify your advantage over the other driver when you are fully comfortable. A bit like Vettel and Webber, with the increased car speed from the EBD, if you can unlock it. He could be a year too early, but FP1s in COTA and Brazil appear to back up my position so far. Marko has also taken on Gasly and Lynn to beef up the RB Juniors and provide pressure for Sainz Jr. We could see Kvyat/Gasly in 2015, if Sainz Jr fails in the FR3.5 shootout with Gasly, with Lynn in the Kvyat position in GP3 as an alternative option should both fail to impress.

      Ferrari – Their FDA is getting better and better, and with Marciello now in GP2 perhaps he has 2 years to win that outright (if he doesn’t in 2014). That’s a £3m investment where they could have halved it and had 2 years in FR3.5. So they clearly rate him to replace Bianchi (Marussia), and will replace Raikkonen with either Bianchi or Hulkenberg. Fuoco and Stroll are next in the ladder, and Stroll was best rookie in the World Karting Championship this year. Their program is similar to McLaren’s YDT in many respects, possibly saving them future salary costs for drivers, allowing more budget to go towards matching RB’s overspend to try and match their car on the track.

      McLaren – Basically took a pay driver in Perez, and $5m, in response to paying for their engines. Hulk and a Merc engine subsidy would have been a better bet, but him beating Button would have left them with a hard decision for 2014. They could also have taken Di Resta for one year, knowing him already for a long time, but didn’t, as circumstances dictated they needed cash or a subsidy. Paul probably thought Anthony Hamilton could get him in at McLaren.

      Looking at Formula Kart Stars on wiki, Paul won each year after Lewis as a youngster (Cadet, Yamaha), also winning JICA twice (and Paffett also won the inaugural JICA season, so both were picked up and Lewis got the eventual F1 chance). Calado also won the Cadets 4 years later, with Sims, Stevens, Stoneman, Surtees, Wrathall and Christodoulou also in the class winners lists. But, even Hamilton wouldn’t have gotten them any higher in 2013, so whoever brought the most cash was best equipped for the 2013 McLaren seat.

      Force India – Declined Magnussen in their own interests. They profited from taking Perez over Magnussen by millions of dollars, and Perez is effectively subsidising Hulkenberg now, who also subsidises the Mercedes engines by being German. No wonder then that they reneged on a handshake deal with Whitmarsh (who Ron has now replaced after a dismal 2013 on all fronts). Perez is already proven (but Magnussen may turn out to be a better long term bet on pace), which helps for 2014, and also adds some more cash for the development budget, which could be crucial in the tight midfield battle.

      Caterham – Tony said they had two options paying more cash – one is obviously VDG’s 15m Euro compared to Ericsson’s 13m Euro (and better B2B opportunities) and Kobayashi’s 9m Euro. I didn’t think it’s Pic (unless it is of course), who probably will be alongside Sorensen at Lotus test/reserve. Ericsson is strong, apart from taking a while in GP2, and having a mare of an unlucky year in 2013. Since his Brawn YDT in 2009, it’s almost like he lost his outstanding edge of consistency combined with his peak pace, as shown by dominating Formula BMW UK in 2007.

      Sauber – VDG can replace Sutil or Gutierrez in 2015, instead of Sirotkin, who may disappoint in FR3.5, or simply have less cash when it comes to the crunch. Sauber picked VDG up very quickly, and his 15m Euro is right up their street for survival. They now have 4 cash bets for 3 available seats in 2015.

    7. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have run out of pay drivers.
      No “we” haven’t. Nor will F1 ever run out, if things continue in the current fashion.

      1. @joetoml1n – OK, we haven’t actually run out, but if you do want a pay driver now from the junior categories you have the uninviting choice of Canamasas, Cecotto, Sirotkin, Jaafar, Haryanto and De Jong to choose from.

  6. After years of absence it seems like Scandinavia is coming strong this year.

    1. Yeah, it’s not as if there’s any Finnish drivers on the grid…

      1. Finland isn’t in Scandinavia.

        1. He’s correct actually.. Scandinavia is Norway, Sweden and Denmark? Not sure on the last one. But Finland is close to Estonia and even Hungary. It’s all about the language and ethnicity. The Sami seem to be closer to Finland as well (usually called Lapps or Lapland in English), being the indigenous peoples of the area (in the northern parts).

          1. Please guys….. this is too funny!

            Scandinavia consists of Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Faeroe Islands.

            Look it up :-)

          2. I think that amalgamation is called the Nordic countries.

          3. And @raceprouk; all you are quoting is that the three of the Scandinavian countries have some Germanic heritage in their language!

            Getting facts straight, huh!!! :-D

          4. @fastiesty you are right that it is also used and some newer definitions actually excludes Finland. It makes little sense to me since Finland was Swedish for 800 years, while most of current Sweden and Norway was Danish under Harald Bluetooth, and also Scandinavian under the definition I was always taught in Scandinavian schools.

            ….getting a bit off topic here… :-)

          5. @poul – Please, pray tell, what sources are you quoting? None?

            If you’re going to refute a claim, at least back it up.

          6. It’s a bit grey zone here. The actual Scandinavia includes Sweden, Norway and Denmark, but Finland and Iceland are sometimes seen as part of it too.

          7. I get this all the time with Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is not part of Great Britain (contrary to popular belief), but is part of the United Kingdom (Hence why it says on your passport “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”).

            But it does seem with Scandanavia that depending on who or where you read it, Finland either is or isn’t part of it. It’s quite fascinating.

      2. Your right not the best of phrase but if I’m not totally wrong it has been a while since there has been drivers from multiple Scandinavian countries on the grid.

        1. It is indeed very nice that we are getting some Scandinavian drivers. F1 all but died in Sweden with Ronnie Peterson so a new coming is overdue to say the least. I don’t know anything about our new driver Markus Eriksson, but he does not seem to have the kind of blistering speed as the Finns have when everything works for them. Let’s hope he can compensate a little in other areas. Generally I would say that the Swedish character is more suited for tinkering with cars than for driving them. My all time favorite Nordic/Scandinavian driver still is Keke Rosberg. He truly did it all by himself.

  7. Caterhams deal with Ericsson really puzzels me. As a swede I think it’s great that we finally have a driver in F1 I’m really happy for Marcus he seems like a nice guy aswell. :)

    I just can’t figure out what kind of deal he’s got with Caterham. I’m 100% sure he could not raise that kind of money that the other pay drivers brought with them, not even close as. Looking at results there are a lot more options out there that would make sense if the money wasn’t involved. So what was the dealsealer?

  8. Considering the financial difficulties of so many teams, it’s great to see talented new rookies still getting into the sport. I’m not really sure what Ericsson can do that Van der Garde couldn’t, but we might as well give him a shot. Magnussen and Kvyat could really impress as well, so bring on the 2014 season already!

  9. Looking forward to watching Magnussen and Kvyat – will be nice to have two newbies in decent-ish teams, assuming TR do OK. My excitement last season for Bianchi and Bottas was dulled slightly because they were both driving dogs…

  10. I think all the pressure goes to our friend at McLaren. A new driver on a top team is always an uncertain move. Hope he does well!!

    By McLaren side, of course they are aiming for 2015 season alongside with Honda, then 2014 seems a perfect year to “test” a new driver.

  11. […] Martin Whitmarsh has said they previously reached an agreement to place [Magnussen] at another team this year, before their rivals went back on the deal.

    I still wonder how this thing unfolded. I guess one of the options is Marussia, who went back on the deal after Bianchi ran out of options for promoting to a better team.

    A better story could be that McLaren reached an agreement with Force India. But then someone realized that it would work out for both teams (more sponsor money for Sauber, more talent for McLaren) if they would exchange Perez and Magnussen. Sadly we will probably never know.

    1. @andae23 I’m pretty sure it was Force India. If I remember correctly, Magnussen was said to be testing at the young drivers’ test with Force India, then didn’t.

      Whitmarsh’s description of both this and placing Magnussen at a team sounded very similar, as being promised something and the person then not delivering. So I also think it was Force India.

      1. @enigma Cheers, I forgot about the YDT.

    2. (more sponsor money for Sauber…

      Ahum, Force India..

  12. I’m rooting for Kvyat, I like his attitude, controlled aggression. I’m really angry that people lumped him in a pay driver! The Red Bull scheme is designed to help the best, financially supporting their careers. Of course the the fact the Russian GP will be this year is help to him, but Da Costa didn’t perform as well as expected last year, simple as. I’m really exited by him, while I think Magnussen could easily end Button’s team leader status at McLaren.

  13. Being in the U.S. I haven’t seen any of these guys race. I do remember seeing Kvyat at the US Grand Prix and doing some very competitive lap times. I think what both McClaren and Torro Rosso are getting next year are two young drivers with excellent feedback, even if the pace isn’t consistent and it takes time to become competitive every weekend.

  14. And the most Handsome rookie and driver of the year 2014 goeeeees tooooooo….. Marcus Ericsson !!!!!!!
    Runner up is Kevin Magnussen…. I am afraid F1 will soon become a Justin Bieber Concert …

    Anyway all the best Marcus, Kevin and Daniil !!!!!

  15. My old man was a casual F1 fan over the last decade of his life but in those early 90s he was a fanatic. He always used to talk about that Footwork entry at Canada 91. Thanks for the fun trivia question

  16. @keithcollantine – But Wirdheim, who dominated the 2003 Formula 3000 championship despite comically throwing away a certain win at Monaco, never started an F1 race.

    Do you have a link to coverage of this you can share?

    That reference piqued my curiosity…

    Wirdheim’s championship victory would have been even more emphatic had he not begun celebrating victory at Monaco too soon. He eased off the throttle before the finishing line and was waving to his mechanics while Nicolas Kiesa blasted past to win

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