Dennis: Choosing an F1 driver is not only about their talent


McLaren supremo Ron Dennis jetted into Denmark this week to ask local companies to help power Kevin Magnussen back onto the Formula 1 grid, rather sooner than later and ominously declared that drivers need to bring funding to F1 teams irrespective of their talent.

“When teams are choosing between these young drivers,” he said during his trip, “unfortunately it’s not only about their talent.”

“It’s also about the support they have from companies or countries. Kevin will succeed with or without your help, but it’s just a much bigger challenge for him when his opponents are young people from countries with huge support.”

As Fernando Alonso was drafted in for the start of the works McLaren-Honda era, Danish rookie Magnussen was relegated to the reserve driver role despite a promising first season where he scored a podium finish in his debut race.

McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen of Denmark holds up his trophy in celebration after finishing third in the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, March 16, 2014. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won the race. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

But now the 22-year-old is pushing to race again in 2016, and on Friday was being linked in the media with a potential McLaren ‘B’ team in the form of the French GP2 outfit ART.

Dennis, meanwhile, sat alongside Magnussen in Copenhagen, urging the Danish business community to get behind a national ‘hero’.

Asked if Magnussen will be on the 2016 grid with McLaren, Dennis was quoted by the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet: “I think Kevin has the ability to race next year. At the same time, he also knows that we live in the real world.

“I have two world champions who are among the very best. So he has to prove himself. Perhaps that means I have to help him into another team for another learning year,” he added.