When Kevin Magnussen was dumped by McLaren a few months ago, he feared his Formula One career might be over. But he is back officially as a Renault driver for Formula 1 season, replacing Pastor Maldonado. Magnussen, whose F1 career appeared to have stalled after he spent last year on the sidelines, has replaced Pastor Maldonado after the Venezuelan’s funding dried up.
He will partner British rookie Jolyon Palmer, whose signing was announced last year by the team when they were racing as Lotus F1. Frederic Vasseur will run day-to-day operations as racing director.
Renault bought back the team, which they had sold at the end of 2009, last December.They will now compete under the Renault Sport Formula One name, along with that of the Infiniti marque, which is part of the Renault-Nissan alliance.
“We are not here (just) to participate. We are here to compete at the highest level and eventually win,” Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn told reporters at the company’s Technocentre at Guyancourt.
Magnussen, 23, made an impressive debut with McLaren in 2014 when he took second place in his first race in Australia but had to drop back to a reserve role in 2015 when double champion Fernando Alonso arrived.
He was let go by McLaren in October. Palmer was the 2014 champion in the GP2 feeder series and a regular in Friday practice as reserve driver last season, but Renault will still have one of the sport’s least experienced line-ups when the season starts in Australia on March 20.
The first pre-season test at Barcelona’s Catalunya circuit is just three weeks away.
2016 F1 DRIVER LINE-UP SO FAR
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg
Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen
Williams-Mercedes: Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa
Red Bull-TAG (Renault): Daniil Kvyat, Daniel Ricciardo
Force India-Mercedes: Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg
Renault: Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer
Toro Rosso-Ferrari: Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr
Sauber-Ferrari:Felipe Nasr, Marcus Ericsson
McLaren-Honda: Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button
Haas-Ferrari: Romain Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez