Danish driver Kevin Magnussen, who had been a test driver for team McLaren for the 2015 season, has been let go of by the team, the driver confirmed via social media.
The 23-year-old, son of former Formula One driver Jan Verstappen, drove for the British team in the 2014 Formula One season, partnering former World Champion Jenson Button. He replaced Sergio Perez, who was snapped up by Vijay Mallya’s Force India team.
In his debut F1 race – the 2014 Australian Grand Prix, the Dane finished on the podium, in 2nd position. Showing promise, he finished the majority of that year’s races in the points – a strong performance for a Formula One debut.
He was immediately moved to test driver, however, when Fernando Alonso signed to McLaren from Ferrari. He raced this year for the team when the Spaniard suffered a concussion during pre-season testing, however, racing in this year’s Australian Grand Prix.
After labouring through qualifying – Magnussen did not make Q2, he did not even start the race after suffering an engine breakdown on the out-lap.
He had gone back to testing for the team since, but last week received personal communication from the secretary of McLaren chairman Ron Dennis informing him that he had been let go of by the team.
The driver, who only recently turned 23, was informed of the sacking on his birthday. However, several indicators suggest he has a Formula One seat for 2016,, but has so far remained mum.
Quoting British author Roald Dahl, he tweeted:
Guys, thanks for the birthday wishes. Hope I can soon tell all of you what I'll be doing in my 23rd year of life! pic.twitter.com/DDDuWRygo1— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) October 5, 2015
Several major teams have already confirmed their driver lineup for next year; among them are:
McLaren, who have renewed Jenson Button's contract through 2017 (Alonso's contract, which began this year, already goes through to that season)
Ferrari, who renewed Kimi Raikkonen's contract through the season - he will continue to partner Sebastian Vettel.
Mercedes, who are now constructors’ champions the second year in a row with driver Lewis Hamilton looking likely to take the drivers’ championship a second year in a row as well. Both Hamilton and Rosberg will continue with the team next season.
Williams, who renewed the contracts of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas
Although Red Bull have both Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat contracted, the future of the team itself is currently in jeopardy, as they are currently left without an engine. Following the end of the team’s relationship with engine manufacturers Renault, they approached both Mercedes and Ferrari, but were rejected by both the German and the Italian outfit, although Ferrari agreed to supply to Red Bull’s junior team, Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Lotus – after persistent financial troubles, Renault have taken a majority stake in the team, saving it from going into administration. Pastor Maldonado has been retained for the 2016 season, although there is no word on the second driver yet. It is likely they will come back as the Renault works team, which last raced F1 in 2010.
It is possible Magnussen may be part of Team Renault in 2016.
F1’s newest entrant, team Haas F1, announced last month that Lotus’ Romain Grosjean would be their primary driver in the 2016 season. Although they did not confirm their second driver, it is widely believed to be Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez, who formerly drove in Formula 1 for team Sauber, and has been testing for Ferrari in the 2015 season.
Haas will be on Ferrari engines for next year, and are regarded as the B-team for Scuderia Ferrari, whose wind tunnels they will also use in testing.