Magnussen confirms McLaren departure

2015 F1 season

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Kevin Magnussen has confirmed he is on his way out of McLaren.

The 23-year-old, who raced for the team last season, mentioned his impending departure from the team on Twitter.

“I want to say thank you to my friends at McLaren,” said Magnussen “There are a lot of great people there. Good luck guys.”

“Shame it didn’t work out,” he added, “but I’ll never give up on the dream”.

McLaren CEO Ron Dennis praised Magnussen’s “very impressive and professional job” at the team.

“In 2014 he raced very well alongside Jenson [Button], who is a hugely experienced and very quick world champion. Kevin’s grand prix debut in Melbourne last year was rewarded with a podium that day that he, and we, can be justifiably proud of.”

“He is extremely keen to return to racing next year,” Dennis added, “and in keeping with our tradition with our young drivers, we will not stand in the way of his ability to fulfil his ambition and potential.”

Magnussen’s most recent race appearance came at this year’s Australian Grand Prix as a substitute for the injured Fernando Alonso. However a technical problem kept him from starting the race.

Twelve months earlier Magnussen caused a stir by finishing on the podium on his debut at Albert Park. That proved the high point of his and the team’s season, and at the end of the year Magnussen was squeezed out of the team’s driver line-up when Alonso joined.

McLaren kept Magnussen on as a test and reserve driver this year, but with Alonso and Button contracted to drive again next year, Magnussen will have to look elsewhere to find a race seat.

“He is a very talented racing driver,” Dennis added, “and he deserves to have a Formula One career as Jenson has publicly said.”

“Evidently, we have no space for him at McLaren-Honda as a race driver next year, but there is no shame in being edged out by two world champions, Fernando and Jenson. We wish Kevin well, and will do all we can to help him successfully embark on the next chapter of his racing career.”

Magnussen was part of the team’s young driver programme and was promoted to the squad off the back of his Formula Renault 3.5 championship victory. Fellow McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne, who was runner-up to him that year, won the GP2 title last weekend.

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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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61 comments on “Magnussen confirms McLaren departure”

  1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    16th October 2015, 14:22

    Hope he finds a drive somewhere, though I have my doubts. HAAS would be an interesting fit, but it seems like they need to save that seat for a Ferrari-backed driver.

    1. In an interview with, Magnussen revealed that he found out the news from Ron Dennis’s personal assistant… by email… on his birthday.

      “I was kind of waiting to hear from them. I didn’t hear anything for a few days, and then, after about a week, when I saw an email from Ron’s personal assistant Justine in my inbox, I had an idea of what it might be.

      “It was a short paragraph explaining that there would be nothing for me in the future. It arrived on my birthday, actually.”

      In a way I feel for him but Ron did try to get Lego behind Mag. In the end the timing may help him find some seat, maybe at WEC.

  2. Disappointing but sadly expected – too many drivers and not enough seats at McLaren.

    Always though he was pretty good and certainly deserving of a spot in F1, Hhopefully Lotus/Renault, Haas or Manor will pick him up. There are a few drivers in F1 currently that really shouldn’t be there and a few that deserve to be in it and Magnussen certainly qualifies as deserving.

    Drivers are the least of McLaren’s problems at the moment but their treatment of them of late has been rather shocking.

  3. Ah, gutted. I hope he gets a seat somewhere in F1, but the places are filling fast.

    Button may have outscored him in ’14, but I thought he deserved another crack of the whip based on some of his performances.

    He seems like a decent chap, also.

    Good luck, Kevin!

  4. Drivers like Kevin Magnussen are important reason why we would need higher amount of cars than 20 in the grid. If there was something like 26 cars, Magnussen would be on the front row to fill one of six new spots, along with Vandoorne and so on.

    Well, it would probably put some average drivers in as well, but keeping drivers like Kevin and Stoffel in F1 would counter-effect that.

    1. Yep. Simply not enough cars on the grid for the talent that is out there.

    2. I’m all for more cars on the grid, but the problem is revenue sharing, not grid size. Magnussen beats 5 of 6 drivers at Lotus, Sauber, and Manor on talent. If those teams could afford to run the best young talent, instead of pay drivers with no hope of ever winning a championship, the problem would be solved.

  5. Depleting Grid !!!! Depleting Talent !!!!!!

    Good Luck Kevin for your future endeavors !!!!

  6. He was told he was been dropped by McLaren on his birthday via an E-mail according to a Q&A he did with

    1. classy as usual lol

      Ron’s PA must be an old woman with a moustache. She avoids face to face meetings

      1. yeah, I just posted that on another article that Bernie is going for the ‘Most Dislikable Person of All Time’ award, but Ron isn’t very far behind, is he? and this comes from a McLaren fan…

    2. I’m surprised they didn’t tell the media Kevin had a tennis injury. I feel bad for him that he got fired and especially that way, but frankly, McLaren is no place for young drivers right now. They’ve been a questionable employer for drivers since the mid 2000s and I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up with a damaged reputation among drivers after Perez and Magnussen.

      1. Dont forget Heikki kovalainen

        1. To be fair, Heikki should never have been at McLaren. He was able to put in some impressive qualifying performances, but his dismal lack of race pace guaranteed Ferrari the Constructors’ Championship in 08. Shame on McLaren for mindlessly hiring Heikki after Renault happily threw him away for the returning Alonso, but I still can’t feel bad for a man who finished the championship 7th in a car his teammate won the WDC with.

          1. @bforth, on the other hand, it has to be questioned whether McLaren were putting their full support behind Heikki at the time. Although he has not openly criticised McLaren, some of his comments have hinted that there was a lack of technical support behind the scenes that meant some of his set up issues were not being resolved.

            There were also times when Heikki was not being offered the same upgrade packages as Hamilton, which would have put him at a performance disadvantage (for example, back in 2009 McLaren gave the long wheelbase version of their car to Hamilton first, with Heikki not receiving the update for several races).

  7. WheeledWarrior
    16th October 2015, 15:07

    It’s time for the likes of Button, Raikkonen and Massa to go. They gave the sport a lot, but it’s time for fresh faces.

    1. Raikkonen maybe, but why Button and Massa? They are NOT underperforming like others. Take Massa for example, he is giving his talented teammate a very hard time. Button also is scoring points with a very bad car.

      1. I think Raikkonen could do well at a smaller team. Remember 2-3 years ago, it was Raikkonen performing at a high level at Lotus (way ahead of Grosjean) while Massa was the one seen as wasting a Ferrari seat.

        1. Yeh, Raikkonen is “underperforming” becouse hes teammate is the best. Neither Massa nor Bottas would beat him. In McLaren who knows whats going on those cars.

          1. You could say that but when Raikkonen was driving the Lotus he was also breaking records of the most reliable driver and continually finishing in the points.
            Now with Ferrari he jumped over Alonso’s car, he T-boned Bottas he lost it in both Canadian Grand Prix, he badly rejoined in Silverstone with a huge accident etc etc.
            So being beaten by the teammate is one thing but why is he also not reliable?

      2. WheeledWarrior
        17th October 2015, 9:08

        You could argue over Massa, indeed. Button is doing fine but at almost 36 he isn’t going to get any better. I’d just like to see some new faces instead of drivers trying to extend their career (which in Buttons case is a very good one!) with another year just so they are still there. But that’s just my opinion :)

    2. So true. Some might argue that a few of them still perform. But let’s be real. They will not match any of their performances in the past. Time to move on. It’s such a shame that they keep talent out of this sport.

      1. It’s no whether they will match their best form. Is whether they are still better than the other guy. Let’s be honest here. F1 is a big boys club, you need to impress to stay in it(or have Maldonado’s bankers) and that goes even more for holding a big team seat.
        Magnussen could still be sitting in that Mclaren if he had just beaten or matched or even be close to Button. But he didn’t. He failed. He let Button outscore and outrace him in most races and he didn’t show much of miracle moments. That is why he lost the seat. Maybe he deserves a second chance but he did get his chance and he failed.

  8. Poor old Jan – sorry Kevin – but I like to remember the good times: one race into his F1 career and he gets a second place (after Ric dsq), best debut since Jacques Villeneuve in ’96. Best not to think too much about the rest of the season but I do hope we see him again in F1.

  9. This announcement has three key inferences:

    a) That McLaren believe Vandoorne to be the team’s best chance for the future – something that most of the paddock would agree with.

    b) Magnussen stands a decent chance of building a works relationship with either Renault or Mercedes depending on whether he can land a 2016 drive.

    c) We are unlikely to see Stoffel in anything other than a reserve role for 2016.

    1. @countrygent Because it’s McLaren, I wouldn’t be surprised if they ditched Vandoorne at the end of next year.

      1. @craig-o …or if Vandoorne defected to the Ferrari Driver Academy and found himself next to Vettel in 2017.

    2. All this despite K-Mag beating Vandoorne in Formula Renault 3.5 and Magnussen being younger? Who makes these decisions at McLaren? And what logic do they use.

      1. @deidunxf1 Magnussen was a second year driver in 2013 and was driving for the DAMS powerhouse. But despite that it was the Belgian that won the first race of the season and found himself leading the championship after a dominant weekend in Moscow midway through the season. And Stoffel trounced Red Bull returnee and clear preseason championship favourite Antonio Felix da Costa. So whilst Kevin finished his rookie year in FR3.5 7th in the standings with one win, Vandoorne’s rookie year saw him ranked P2 with four wins…and he followed that up with the finest ever rookie campaign in GP2 on Pirelli tyres.

        Stoffel Vandoorne is, by any calculation, the kind of driver we may one day see fighting for a F1 championship.

      2. The one taking decisions is the one who put Magnussen in the car for a year to see what Kevin could show and didn’t get much out of it.
        It doesn’t matter anymore whether Vandoorne finished behind or not because Kevin got his year and didn’t impress. Therefore Vandoorne is an unknown compared to a known failure. Of course they will keep Vandoorne.

  10. I wonder if he’ll goes to Indycar/IWSC.?. He can driving with his dad at Daytona, Sebring, and Le Mans, and racing at Indy 500.

  11. Manor with Mercedes engine isn’t bad option now. Atleast it’ll be faster than the McLaren :P

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      18th October 2015, 17:52

      GP2 would be another option – still faster than the McLaren!

  12. We will not stand in the way of his ability to fulfil his ambition and potential.

    What a diplomatic, magnificent way to say “we don´t need you here. Bye!”
    I still would like to see Kevin in a good car. Good luck, mate!!!!

  13. I’m sorry but Jenson Button shouldn’t be in F1 anymore just like Kimi, they are destroying young talent.

    1. The last race Button had in a competitive car, he won. What’s he done wrong since then?

      1. Right on Keith! And Jensen beat Alonso in a fair contest at Sochi. And Jensen is the only team mate to have beaten Hamilton in a year. (And I think that he taught Hamilton how to look are the tyres…)

        He is still a star – in search of a competitive car!

      2. He’s not going to win no championship next year, so why stay? Or is it McLaren need him desperately because Alonso can’t develop a car.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          18th October 2015, 17:53

          Yeah but neither is anyone other than Hamilton or Rosberg…..

    2. I suppose Button and Raikkonen did “destroy” Grosjean, Perez & Magnussen, yes.

    3. I’m sorry but Jenson Button shouldn’t be in F1 anymore just like Kimi, they are destroying young talent.

      The only way Button is destroying young talent in on the race track. Honestly, this whole ‘Magnussen deserves a go and Button should leave’ is just nonsense.

      In case you all missed it, Magnussen DID get a go, in 2014 for an ENTIRE season. He got absolutely drilled by Button. I know he was a rookie and Button is the most experienced driver in F1, but that’s not really the point. I fail to understand the logic that calls for Button to be replaced by the guy who failed to
      a) beat him in qualifying – something Button is not known for
      b) score even 50% of his points.

      Had it been the other way around and it was Magnussen who pummeled Button, the very thought that Button would get the seat over Magnussen would have been laughable at best.

      But here we are, yet again, questioning for some unknown reason Button’s talent and whether he should or shouldn’t still be in F1. His results speak for themselves.

      1. The very first year he was in a semi competitive car, 2004, he came 3rd in the championship behind the all conquering Ferrari’s.
      2. The very first year he was actually in a car capable of winning the WDC (2009), he won it.
      3. Went to McLaren where apparently he was going to get destroyed by Hamilton – didn’t happen. Scoring 8 wins to Hamilton’s 10 but more podiums and more points.
      4. The ONLY driver to ever outscore Hamilton over a season and went on to claim McLaren’s highest WDC finish that year (2011) since 2008.
      5. Since getting into a competitive car in 2009 and up until the disaster that was the 2013 McLaren and the beginning of McLaren’s current downfall, Button scored more race wins than any other driver on the grid bar Vettel and scored more points than anyone on the grid other than Vettel and Alonso.
      6. Saw off the second of the ‘young guns’ (Perez) who was supposedly going to ‘smash’ Button in 2013.
      7. Totally destroyed the 3rd ‘young gun’ who was made out to be the second coming of Senna in 2014.
      8. Is now holding his own against arguably the best driver in Formula 1

      Exactly how much does Button have to do before he actually gains a little respect for his talent behind the wheel?

      1. @nick101 Button beat a rookie in his first season and now he doesn’t deserve another chance?

        Beaten by the same Button who as a rookie, was beaten by Ralf Schumacher?

        1. @craig-o

          I didn’t say that KMag doesn’t deserve another chance in F1, merely pointing out the utter ridiculousness of suggesting that he should have REPLACED or taken the driver OVER Button. There would have been absolutely no justice or logic in that.

          Yes, Button was beaten in his Rookie year by Ralf Schumacher, but no one was suggesting that the following year Ralf should leave and give Button another go instead, did they?

      2. Exactly how much does Button have to do before he actually gains a little respect for his talent behind the wheel?

        Actually have it would be a good start. What you conveniently failed to mention was the eight years he spend around being reasonably useless (outside of 2004 and 2006) before 2009 and even 2009 speaks against his worth for being on the grid.

        He is perhaps the only world champion in the history of the sport to objectively perform worse than his teammate in his championship year. Beating Hamilton in a year where his mind was on anything but F1 is not hard, any driver on the grid in 2011 could have done that, except maybe Karthikeyan. And why do people refuse to acknowledge Button’s role in McLaren’s downfall or is that apparentely all coincidence that McLaren goes down the drain right as Hamilton leaves? He is an awful car developer and any improvement by McLaren next season can most certainly not be attributed to him, so there is simply no justification for keeping him if you got talented drivers with actual futures such as Magnussen and Vandoorne at your beck and call.

        1. What you conveniently failed to mention was the eight years he spend around being reasonably useless

          Driving cars that were not competitive/down right useless

          He is perhaps the only world champion in the history of the sport to objectively perform worse than his teammate in his championship year.

          Objectively? Do you even know what that word means? Here’s a little lesson for you, the ACTUALLY definition of objectively:

          not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased

          Considering the following facts from the 2009 season, he was most DEFINITELY objectively better than his team mate:

          WDC Standings:
          Button – 1st
          Barrichello – 3rd

          WDC Points:
          Button – 95
          Barrichello – 77

          Button – 6
          Barrichello – 2

          Button – 9
          Barrichello – 6

          Beating Hamilton in a year where his mind was on anything but F1 is not hard, any driver on the grid in 2011 could have done that, except maybe Karthikeyan.

          Oh that’s right, Hamilton was having ‘girlfriend’ problems wasn’t he? Well, a perfectly acceptable reason to have an off season then isn’t it! I mean, Alonso actually divorced from his WIFE in 2011, but that’s nothing compared to poor Hamilton and ALL of his massive worries that year.

          But what you fail to mention, rather conveniently, is that Hamilton wasn’t the only driver he beat that year was he? In case you forgot he also beat EVERYONE else on the grid that year bar Vettel – including Alonso. But don’t mention that will you, might make what you’re saying sound a bit stupid.

          And why do people refuse to acknowledge Button’s role in McLaren’s downfall or is that apparentely all coincidence that McLaren goes down the drain right as Hamilton leaves?

          Ummm…because he had nothing to do with it. In 2013 McLaren decided on a completely new design for their car where everyone else just developed the 2012 car. And if Button is somehow to blame for the 2013 car, then why isn’t Hamilton? He was their driver in 2012 when the 2013 car was developed.

          Equally, this year’s McLaren is widely recognized to have one of the best chassis on the grid, so where is your plaudit’s for Button on that???

          He is an awful car developer and any improvement by McLaren next season can most certainly not be attributed to him

          As I said above, what about this years car? I guess we can thank Magnussen for that? Clearly you’re a bit of a clown that doesn’t really know anything about F1. Button is know to be one of the best development drivers on the grid.

          so there is simply no justification for keeping him if you got talented drivers with actual futures such as Magnussen and Vandoorne at your beck and cal

          No justification? My God, do you even watch F1? Last year’s WDC points and results are all the justification anyone needs as to why Magnussen was dropped in favour of Button.

          1. Actually Button had something to do with the bad 2013 Mclaren.
            Whitmarsh said in an interview that he took the decision to go with supporting the new concept method instead of developing the 2012 car because he thought the car wasn’t going very well development wise at the point he took the decision and that was around the middle of the year.
            At the end of the year the car though was still very strong but the team was too committed to the 2013 car.
            Whitmarsh’s view was heavily influenced by Button’s struggles at that point. Hamilton was winning GP’s while Button got even lapped at the Canadian GP and just couldn’t make the car work.
            If Button was also fine with the car is very possible Whitmarsh wouldn’t have taken a risk and the team would have had a strong car for 2013.

      3. Bravo sir.

  14. That’s the price you pay when you are part of a young driver program and it does not work, I guess that’s why Robin Frijns turned down Red Bull’s offers.
    I just don’t understand the way Mc Laren work at the moment, are they investing in Stoffel just cut the remaining roots of martin whitmarsh ? who knows.

  15. Good for him. McLaren was a dead end for his career. I hope to see him in Indycar.

  16. Good – no room for him at McLaren and a car nowhere as good as he deserves.
    Bad – he’s lost backing from an F1 team. Where can he go? Unlikely at Lotus.
    Good – with Vandoorne so increasingly good, he’d have been second-pick to be a reserve. Hopefully Stoffel doesn’t end up like him.

  17. He needed not to crash the car in Oz, really. Just like Lynn needed not to crash out of the lead in GP2.

    I’d have thought Boullier could have given him a call though, or someone.

  18. This is kind of worse than what McLaren did to Perez… Seems they (McLaren) are getting better at something….

    So sad.

    1. to be fair mclaren got him the force india seat

  19. I don’t like this…

  20. That was inevitable. With Vandoorne on such a hype McLaren will probably try to put him in a car, a Lotus or whatever, but even that is uncertain, and Stoffel could very well have to follow the same path as Kevin.

    Magnussen was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I just hope Vandoorne will not have the same wasted fate, really. Good luck Kmag, a shame it didn’t work!

  21. I hope his dreams are fulfilled, if not here then in a comparable format.

  22. he will be in Renault next year

  23. Interesting that shortly after this was confirmed, it was reported that Lotus are close to completing its lineup. I certainly hope that’s no coincidence. If it is, then I’d expect some IndyCar teams to be reaching for their telephones. They definitely should be.

  24. It’s pretty shocking how McLaren have treated their youngsters this year. They’ve made Magnussen sit on the sidelines, and simply ditched him at the end of the year with no apparent valid reason, and despite dominating the GP2 championship and coming second in two different championships (as a rookie both times I should add) before then, McLaren are going to throw Vandoorne into Japanese Super Formula? Oh dear. If I were Nyck de Vries and/or Ben Barnicoat, I’d start looking elsewhere.

    I suppose it isn’t the first time McLaren’s youngsters have been left to rot though. Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey spring to mind.

  25. petebaldwin (@)
    18th October 2015, 17:59

    It’s a shame but in all fairness, when the rumours started that Button was leaving, I don’t remember many saying “OH YAY! GET K-MAG IN THE CAR!”

    Magnussen is a decent driver but he’s not worthy of one of the top seats.

  26. I don’t understand most comments on her. Button and Alonso have been confirmed for 2016. Why would Magnussen stay at McLaren? Magnussen has made it quite clear that he does not want to be a reserve driver.

    The real reason for this mess and the late decisions from McLaren might be that Ron Dennis and the Board of Directors do not see eye to eye on how to run the team. And in the end it appears, the board makes the decisions – not Dennis and not Boullier.

    And if the board of directors are micro managing the team like this, then McLaren have a serious leadership problem. And they might be a dysfunctional team for many years to come. IMO it could explain why McLaren seemingly can’t manage simple tasks like changing wheels or give proper directions to drivers on which setting to use before qualification.

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