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GP Week : Issue 195
MAGNUSSEN DEAL SHAKES UP DRIVER MARKET Danish youngster Kevin Magnussen has been confirmed as sergio Perez’ replacement at McLaren, where he will race alongside Jenson Button in 2014. The 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 champion will be the first rookie to race for McLaren since Lewis Hamilton in 2007. Before that, the last rookie driver to make his debut for McLaren was Kevin’s father Jan Magnussen, who drove for the team at the 1995 Pacific Grand Prix. “This team is the best,” Magnussen said when the announcement was made. “It’s been my dream to drive for McLaren ever since I was a small kid, and it’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve dedicated almost ever y day of my life to achieving the goal of becoming a McLaren Formula 1 driver. I have an enormous amount of respect for everyone at McLaren, and I want to say a massive ‘ thank you’ to everyone, but most of all to Martin and his senior colleagues, for giving me this chance” In September McLaren team principal Mar tin Whitmarsh confirmed that he had spoken to a number of Formula One teams about taking on Magnussen, as he felt bringing a young driver into a top team like McLaren too early with the “pressure and expectations was a difficult thing to do.” At the same time, however, he described the young Dane as one of the “hottest talents not in Formula One”. When asked whether he would be interested in recruiting another marquee name to Woking to par tner Button, recreating the double-champion line-up the team enjoyed from 2010 to 2012, Whitmarsh said that to do so would be “very rewarding, but equally bringing a youngster in and turning him into a champion is pretty nice as well.” Magnussen’s promotion leaves Perez searching for a drive, as is recent Williams refugee Pastor Maldonado. With both drivers armed with substantial financial backing, current Sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg could now find himself without a seat in 2014. The German driver had been linked with a Lotus drive, but that move was subject to a cash injection from the Quantum group who are understood to have acquired a 35 percent stake in Lotus’ owners, Genii Capital. It’s understood that Quantum are eager for Lotus to sign Hulkenberg, echoing Lotus team principal’s Eric Boullier interest in the driver. But the much-heralded deal has yet to be signed, and it is looking increasingly likely that it has fallen through. Should that prove to be the case, the funds that both Perez and Maldonado could bring – par ticularly hefty sponsorship from Venezuela’s PDVSA – would be a welcome lifeline at Enstone. F1 >>> nEWs 6 GPWEEK.com // 6 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: