Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen is the son of Jan Magnussen and was born on 5 October 1992 in Denmark. Jan Magnussen is a 4 time Le Mans GT class winner and a former Formula 1 driver. Kevin Magnussen followed in his father’s footsteps and drove for McLaren in the 2014 Formula 1 Championship. After a brief stint with Renault in 2016, Magnussen joined Haas and drove for them from 2017 till 2020. In 2022, Magnussen has signed a multi-year contract with Hass.

Kevin Magnussen – Early Career

After beginning his career in karting, Magnussen won the Formula Ford championship, Denmark in 2008. The following year, he finished runner-up to António Félix da Costa in the Nothern European Cup with Motopark Academy in Formula Renault 2.0. In 2010, Magnussen competed in the German Formula Three Championship finishing third and was awarded the rookie of the year title.

Magnussen moved to Carlin in 2011 and competed in the British Formula 3 Championship. He finished as runner up to his teammate Felipe Nasr and finished third in the Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort. That year Magnussen also drove in the F3 Macau Grand Prix, his maiden and only appearance in a Grand Prix till then. Although he was placed 7th in qualifying, he had to start from the back for ignoring yellow flags. He had to retire late into the race after a high-speed collision.

The Carlin team promoted Magnussen to Formula 3.5 in 2012 with Will Stevens as a teammate. He finished the season in 7th place. 2013 proved to be a far more fruitful season for Magnussen. He finished second at Motorland Aragón and took pole positions at both races at Spa Francorchamps. He converted his second pole position into a victory. Magnussen moved to DAMS during the 2013 season. He ended the year as the Formula 3.5 champion, 60 points ahead of runner up Stoffel Vandoorne.

Formula One

Magnussen’s first experience of Formula 1 was when he drove the McLaren MP4-27 in the Abu Dhabi Young Drivers test in 2012. Magnussen posted not only the fastest time in the three day test but also acquired his FIA Super Licence. 

McLaren (2014-2015)

In 2014, Magnussen was chosen to replace Sergio Pérez by McLaren. With Formula 1 rules mandating that drivers choose the number that they want to use during their Formula 1 career, Magnussen chose 20. This was the number on his car when he won the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Championship. Magnussen posted the best time at Jerez and Bahrain pre-season tests.

In the 2014 Australian Grand Prix, the first race of the season, Magnussen finished fourth in qualifying. He successfully avoided a crash at the start of the race and passed Hamilton’s Mercedes. He maintained his position to finish third in the race. Magnussen was only the second Danish driver after his father to finish their maiden races with points. Magnussen finished third at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix while his father had finished sixth at the 1998 Canadian Grand Prix.

Magnussen also became the first debutante in 2014, after Lewis Hamilton in the 2007 Australian Grand Prix, to finish on a podium. He finished the season in 11th place despite 7th place finishes in Austria and Great Britain and 5th place finish in Russia. The remaining points 8 finishes that Magnussen secured were either in 9th or 10th places.

In 2015, Fernando Alonso replaced Magnussen as a Formula 1 driver at McLaren’s. Magnussen’s deal with Andretti Autosport to race in the 2015 IndyCar series was blocked by McLaren. He was the test and reserve driver for McLaren. Yet he got a chance to race in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix after Fernando Alonso was advised to rest by the doctors. Magnussen however was unable to start due to an engine failure on the formation lap.

Renault (2016)

McLaren released Magnussen at the end of the 2015 season. Magnussen got into talks with Haas and Manor Racing. There were also reports that he was talking with Bryan Herta Autosport after he tested the Mercedes DTM car and Porche’s LMP1. Haas however confirmed Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez as the team drivers. Renault confirmed in early 2016 that Magnussen would drive for them in Formula 1 with Jolyon Palmer.

Magnussen’s early 2016 season aces were a series of disasters. He had a tyre puncture in the first race in the opening lap in Australia. That was followed by a start from the pit lane after failing to stop at the weighbridge in practice. A crash in practice in the Chinese Grand Prix ensured that Magnussen finished in 17th place. A crash with teammate Palmer in Spain was followed by a crash in practice and a collision with Daniil Kvyat in Monaco.

Magnussen missed the qualifying in Canada after crashing in practice. In Azerbaijan, his car was modified in parc fermé conditions and he was forced to start the race from the pit lane. Magnussen had some consolation in Russia where he recovered from 17th place on the starting grid to finish 7th. That was Renault’s best finish of the season.

Magnussen had gearbox trouble late into the British Grand Prix and a high-speed crash in the Belgian Grand Prix. Magnussen claimed his second and last points finish of the season in Singapore with a 10th place finish. Two more mishaps were to happen before the end of the season. He suffered a power loss in Malaysia and suspension damage in Abu Dhabi. Yet Magnussen had secured seven of Renault’s 8 points and finished 16th.

Haas (2017-2020)

In 2017, Magnussen joined Haas with Romain Grosjean as his partner and replaced Esteban Gutiérrez. He had a disastrous start to the season in Australia, reporting a suspension problem when he had a tyre puncture. He finished 8th in the Chinese Grand Prix before retiring in Bahrain with electrical problems. He made contact with Daniil Kvyat in Spain while running 9th and fell to 14th place. 

Magnussen finished 10th in Monaco in Haas’s first-ever double points finish. Magnussen’s best finish would come in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix where he finished 7th. A string of seven finishes without points, along with a few mishaps, would earn him the “most unsporting driver on the grid” label. Magnussen ended the season in 14th place with two 8th place finishes in Japan and Mexico.

Haas retained Magnussen for the 2018 season, driving a vastly improved Haas VF-18. Magnussen earned Hass’ highest-ever position on the grid; 5th in the Australian Grand Prix. However, both of Hass’ cars had to retire because of wrongly fitted wheels during a pit stop. Magnussen’s fourth-place finish in Bahrain was his best finish since Russia in 2014. In Azerbaijan, Magnussen collided with Pierre Gasly earning the latter’s wrath.

There followed a string of points finishes for Magnussen and his team. Sixth place in Spain and France were followed by 5th place in Austria. A ninth-place finish in Great Britain, 7th place finish in Hungary and 8th in Belgium added to Magnussen’s points tally. Magnussen collided with Sergio Pérez in Italy and finished last. He finished 18th in Singapore but started 5th and finished 8th in Russia.

Further trouble was to plague Magnussen when he came into contact with Charles Leclerc in Japan. He was disqualified in the US Grand Prix for using more fuel. Magnussen’s 2018 season came to an end with 9th and 10th place finishes in Brazil and Abu Dhabi respectively. He finished the season in 9th place with 56 points, 19 ahead of his teammate Grosjean.

Although Magnussen still drove for Haas during the 2019 season, Haas V-19 proved to be a disaster as the season progressed. Magnussen finished 6th in Australia in what was to be his best finish of the season. He later finished 7th in Spain after three 13th place finishes. The races in Austria and Britain were disappointing with a 19th place finish in the former and a race-ending contact between the two Haas partners in the latter.

Magnussen’s next points-scoring finish was in Germany with 10th place finish. He would score his fourth and last points in Russia where he finished 10th. Magnussen ended in 16th place for the 2019 season with 20 points, ahead of Grosjean by 12 points.

Magnussen and Grosjean continued driving for Haas for the 2020 season. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Magnussen ran third early on but finished 9th. He was later demoted to 10th for the strategic decision of the team to pit both drivers at the end of the formation lap. Magnussen had a power unit failure in Italy and rear-ended at the Tuscan Grand Prix. that was his fifth retirement in 9 races.

At the start of the 2021 season, Magnussen and Grosjean parted ways with Haas. They were replaced by Mick Schumacher, the then Formula 2 champion and Nikita Mazepin of Russia.

Haas (2022)

Haas terminated Nikita Mazepin’s contract when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Kevin Magnussen signed a multi-year contract with Haas and will race with Mick Schumacher for the 2022 season.