Whitmarsh: Magnussen a risk
19 December 2013 – McLaren have taken a risk by promoting young hotshot Kevin Magnussen, team principal, Martin Whitmarsh has conceded.
Magnussen has been drafted in at the expense of Sergio Pérez, the Mexican cast aside after just one year with the Woking-based outfit, and while the Dane impressed and won the Formula Renault 3.5 Series title in 2013, it remains to be seen just how he will get on at the pinnacle of the sport. Furthermore, while McLaren have succeeded before with a rookie, and had no regrets after bringing in Lewis Hamilton back in 2007, the situation now is not the same.
“We did it with Lewis, but how many times in your career does that happen because we could have had egg on our face,” Whitmarsh admitted to British newspaper, The Independent this week.
“The one thing I'll say - and I hesitate to say this thinking about it, but I'll say it - it was easier for Lewis because we pounded him with testing in a way you can't any more.
“So there's a risk, but we wouldn't be doing it unless we didn't think it would work out.”
Magnussen tested for McLaren at Silverstone back in the summer and Whitmarsh added it was clear then that he had that certain ‘X-Factor’: “What was impressive was the consistency - there was not a single mistake,” Whitmarsh recalled.
“I also happened to participate in the engineering debrief at the end of the day and he had a number of engineers around him and at least 20 on video conference.
“I sat there listening to his feedback, how clear and precise he was, the confidence, and realising 'This guy is special'.”