It’s Time Kevin Magnussen Faced Reality

Image: McLaren

Here we go again, the motor racing silly season is firmly upon us. The F1 season isn’t even over and yet plans for 2017 are already if full swing. First domino to drop was Nico Hulkenberg moving from Force India to Renault. Next up seems to be current F1 driver Kevin Magnussen. With Hulkenberg’s addition that means one of the current Renault drivers will be left looking for a drive next season. All reports point to that driver being Magnussen.

Magnussen is fielding offers and exploring his options. Rumors point to a possible deal that could see him join the likes of Alexander Rossi and join IndyCar in the form of Andretti Autosport. This isn’t the first Magnussen’s name has been linked to Andretti, back in 2015 after he lost his seat at McLaren Andretti was very interested in the 2nd generation driver. That deal failed to materialize and Magnussen found his way to Renault.

Kevin Magnussen (DEN), Renault Sport F1 Team 23.02.2016. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain. Tuesday. -, EMail: - copy of publication required for printed pictures. Every used picture is fee-liable. © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images
Image: Charniaux / XPB Images

After repeatedly losing out on F1 rides Rossi made the decision to join Herta/Andretti for this past IndyCar season. All Rossi did in his rookie season was win the Indy 500, arguably the biggest race in the world. Not bad for a guy who was struggling to find a ride in F1. Certainly it brought him more fame and notoriety than being a F1 backmarker ever could. There in lies the problem: Should middle tier drivers continue to pursue less than stellar F1 drives where they’d be lucky to score points? Or, jump ship and join another racing series where they can find more success but with less prestige?

It appears Magnussen is trying like hell to opt for the former. In a recent string of tweets he makes his intentions quite clear.


Look, I understand chasing your dream until it is completely and 100% dead. My baseball career can attest to that. But in this situation I think Magnussen really needs to take a step back and evaluate things. I think he needs to stop slamming a legitimate option and face reality. Does he really want a ride with a bad F1 team? That is where F1 careers go to die. Sure they can be a good start for an up and comer. See: Pascal Wehrlein. However Kevin Magnussen’s career is going in the opposite direction. He started at McLaren, moved down to Renault, and now he is likely out there. The writing is on the wall, Magnussen is facing F1 purgatory. Not to mention he could be replaced on one of these lower tier teams at anytime by a paying driver. A driver who brings big sponsorship dollars which often is required for these teams to stay afloat. A move to IndyCar could jump-start Magnussen’s career.

IndyCar could be a great option for Magnussen. With a team like Andretti he could be competitive immediately. Plus, IndyCar drivers aren’t exactly paid peanuts. Sure it isn’t the insanity of what a top-level F1 driver earns but IndyCar drivers aren’t starving either. Kevin can learn a thing or two from his Father’s career.  After making his debut with McLaren in 1995, the Jan Magnussen made four appearances in the CART IndyCar Series with Roger Penske and Carl Hogan in 1996. Jan returned with Patrick Racing in 1999 for an additional 7 races. Jan’s career in F1 never really took off but he took the drives when he could get them. Now Jan is considered to one of the best GT drivers after years of success with Corvette Racing.

Kevin's Father made select IndyCar starts to keep his career going. While it didn't turn into a full time job it kept Jan relevant. Eventually leading to sportscar drivers where Jan has won his class at Le Mans 4 times.
Kevin’s Father made select IndyCar starts to keep his career going. While it didn’t turn into a full-time job it kept Jan relevant. Eventually leading to sportscar drivers where Jan has won his class at Le Mans 4 times.

I get it, F1 is the pinnacle, the mountain top, the drug that once you get a taste you want nothing else. But at a certain point you need to face reality. The reality is Kevin Magnussen is trending in the wrong direction. He isn’t going to get a competitive ride based on his name alone. His absolute best option is sticking with Renault. That seems unlikely at this point so Kevin is at a crossroads. Stick in F1 and fight just to be relevant or move to IndyCar and fight for wins with a top team? Seems like a simple solution, apparently Kevin doesn’t see it that way.

Written by Chad Kennedy

Chad burst from the womb wearing a racing suit and a helmet. Chad's passion for cars is in his very DNA. His father was a gear head and passed on the tradition through owning such classics as a '66 Mustang and a '59 Corvette all while taking him to various race tracks in the area. Chad likes to wrench on his rides whenever possible, forgoing the stealership. Chad is an avid motorsports fan with particular interest in endurance/sports car racing. When not online writing for Shifting Lanes, you can find him working at the local golf course teaching people how to swing or hooning a golf cart at impossible speeds.


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  1. If it wasnt for Vasseurs attempt to please his ego with previous art drivers, KEVIN MAGNUSSEN would be the safe bet when a fast driver is needed. But apparently speed is not top of Vasseurs mind, rather hes looking for a leader, maybe due to the fact there is no leader in the RENAULT management team…..

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