A brief biography of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, including his career history and Formula One statistics
There's nothing like a second-generation racing driver to make Formula One fans feel their age, and that's especially the case here. The youthful Jan Magnussen made his Formula One race debut in 1995 with McLaren in Japan, and less than 19 years later his equally fresh-faced son would follow in his footsteps and make his own maiden outing with the same team in Australia.
Like most future F1 stars, Kevin Magnussen began his career in karting but it wasn't long before he was racing single seaters, stepping up to Formula Ford Denmark in 2008 while also taking part in six races of the ADAC Formel Masters series. Lacking funds to continue in motorsport he briefly found work as a factory welder, but he soon picked up sponsorship that allowed him to resume his passion.
The following season Magnussen was runner-up to António Félix da Costa in the Formula Renault Northern European Cup, and the next season he won the opening round of the German Formula Three Championship in which he eventually finished third in the championship as top rookie. In 2011 he was runner-up in the British Formula 3 championship with Carlin, and he spent the following two years racing in Formula Renault 3.5 Series where he clinched the championship in 2013 with five wins, 13 podiums and eight pole positions - a phenomenal run by anyone's standards.
Magnussen had already enjoyed his first taste of Formula One with McLaren in the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test at the end of 2012, having previously worked on the team's driving simulator. Magnussen set the fastest lap of anyone during the three-day test, and did sufficient mileage to earn his FIA superlicense. When McLaren needed a replacement for Sergio Perez for 2014 he was the obvious choice for the race seat.
Magnussen claimed a memorable second place on his début in Melbourne after Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified for a fuel irregularity. The result meant he was only the second Danish driver in history to pick up championship points - the first being his father Jan in 1998. Magnussen recorded eleven further points scoring finishes during the season, only to find himself out of the seat at the end of 2014 when McLaren opted to bring in Fernando Alonso to help the team's flagging fortunes.
Magnussen stayed on with the team the following year as a test and reserve driver, and a pre-season testing accident for Alonso meant that Magnussen found himself back at work at Australia - only to miss out on the race when his car suffered an engine failure on the formation lap. He never got another chance to show the team what he could do, and later in the year received an email releasing him from his contract. Following talks with Haas and Manor, Magnussen finally found a new home in Enstone when he joined Renault F1 alongside rookie driver and fellow second-generation Formula One racer Jolyon Palmer.
A tough season with Renault - rebuilding after years of financial decline as Lotus - was punctuated by point-scoring results in Russia and Singapore, but Magnussen’s hopes for a more successful season in 2017 as he joins the Haas F1 team.