McLaren experiment with Magnussen could fail warns Kovalainen

Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen

Former McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen says that there is no guarantee that Kevin Magnussen will thrive at the Woking based quad, and warns that 2014 could make or break the Danish rookie’s Formula 1 career.

The famous British team, for whom Finn Kovalainen drove alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2008 and 2009 before losing his seat, recently made the surprise decision to oust Sergio Perez in favour of the 21-year-old Magnussen.

“I’m still surprised by the team’s decision,” Mexican Perez, whom it is believed will switch to Force India for 2014, told Brazil’s Totalrace this week.

“I didn’t know the news was coming and, in fact, my contract was already signed. So I was surprised.

“Time will tell if it was the right decision,” added Perez, referring to McLaren’s signing of new Formula Renault 3.5 champion Magnussen over him.

Finn Kovalainen, who is also hoping to find a race seat for 2014, told the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat that he also cannot be sure whether McLaren’s gamble on Magnussen will pay off.

“There are two possibilities: Kevin will do well, or he will do badly,” said the 32-year-old, who despite his experience struggled late in 2013 when he replaced Kimi Raikkonen in the competitive Lotus cockpit.

“It is difficult to say which one of the possibilities is the most likely,” added Kovalainen, referring again to Magnussen’s chances. “McLaren seems to really believe in him, but I don’t really know him, other than knowing that he is fast and a good driver.”

McLaren is hoping that Magnussen can emulate the feats of its impressive 2007 rookie Lewis Hamilton, but Kovalainen warned that the team’s most recent experiment with a new driver – Perez – appeared not to pay off.

“Hamilton was able to fight for the podium from the first race, but in the past season Sergio Perez …did … not meet expectations,” he explained.

“They were expecting [that] they could polish the diamond, but it didn’t turn out like that. In any case, McLaren is a very strong team with excellent facilities and vast resources, so at least in theory they can create the conditions to solve all of a driver’s problems.”

“There is no guarantee that Magnussen will succeed, but at least he will have a great chance,” added Kovalainen. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Snowman

    “Hamilton was able to fight for the podium from the first race, but in the past season Sergio Perez …did …not expectations,” he explained.

    That’s a hell of a lot of paraphrasing. I’d love to know what the original quote was.

  • Marcus

    Who listens to Kovailainen now? After his abysmal display at lotus.

  • matthew

    @marcus my thoughts exactly. He was a joke.

  • captain tortuga

    @marcus and Matthew :

    Yeah, my thought was : McLaren and Lotus-experiment with Kovalainen already failed..

  • Sian

    But Perez didn’t have the car Hamilton did..

  • Kimi4WDC

    Looking at how Kvyat performing, if Magnusen is a real deal, I dont think he will have any “Heikki” issues with whatever he is driving as long as it have a steering wheel and four tyres.

  • pdf

    marcus, matthew and capt. tortuga: Kovalainen showed his pace in the Lotus, finished several sessions in the Top 5 and would have finished Top 7 in Austin GP if not for a freak incident that also killed his momentum going into the Brazilian GP.

    And already at McLaren he basically was splitting the qualifying duels with Hamilton or even had the upper hand, but this does not show in the statistics as he was consequently fueled heavier than his team mate.

    And if you do not believe me, believe the master himself:

  • pdf

    aha, Kimi4WDC has no clue, whatsoever, too, talking about “Heikki issues” and steering wheels and not knowing that the “Heikki issues” were mainly due to the Lotus having it’s knobs and buttons of the steering wheel / KERS etc. at completely other positions than the ones at Caterham he was used for years and this inevitably brings problems when driving and not knowing the car for more than some days…

  • drift

    In fact, Kovalainen is complementing both Perez and Magnussen with his statemetns, when you read closely, but what this whole article suggests is quite the opposite and pretty wrong.

  • matthew

    @pdf I do agree that he was a good qualifier. But it takes more than a one lap wonder to be successful in f1. Whatever issue that was carried on from austin to brazil is kovs fault. You can’t perform poorly at 2 teams and expect a seat.