Driver Profile: Kevin Magnussen

NameKevin Jan Magnussen
Date of Birth5 October 1992
Place of BirthRoskilde, Denmark
Car Number20
First Entry2014 Australian Grand Prix
Haas’ Kevin Magnussen Pool via REUTERS/Josep Lago

Biography of F1 driver Kevin Magnussen

Like most F1 drivers, Magnussen began his career in karting before taking part in Formula Ford in Denmark in 2008. He won the championship thanks to 11 victories from 15 races.

The following year Magnussen raced for Motopark Academy in Formula Renault 2.0, while also finishing runner-up to Antonio Felix da Costa in the Northern European Cup.

After finishing third in the 2010 German Formula 3 Championship, Magnussen moved to the British Formula 2 Championship the following year. Driving for Carlin, he took the chequered flag seven times and finished runner-up to Felipe Nasr.

From there Magnussen moved to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, ending the year seventh for Carlin, before winning the title the following year with DAMS.

McLaren welcome Magnussen into F1

It didn’t take long for Magnussen to land with one of F1’s heavy hitters as McLaren signed him to replace Sergio Perez for the 2014 season. The Dane started the season in impressive fashion, topping the timesheets in pre-season tests, and qualifying fourth for his first race in Australia.

In the end Magnussen managed to secure a third-place finish, finishing behind race winner Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo. However, Ricciardo was later disqualified due to irregularities, promoting Magnussen to second. The result made him just the second Danish driver, after his father Jan, to finish in the points, along with becoming the first rookie to finish second since Jacques Villeneuve in 1996.

It proved to be the high point of Magnussen’s season, as he failed to land on the podium again, though he did finish in the points on 11 more occasions to end the year 11th in the standings on 55 points, 71 points back of teammate Jenson Button.

The disappointing results resulted in McLaren replacing Magnussen with Fernando Alonso for the 2015 season, with the dane becoming the test and reserve driver for the team. He did feature in one race, the Australian Grand Prix, when Alonso was ruled out due to a concussion, though Magnussen failed to start the race after suffering an engine failure on the formation lap.

Magnussen lands with Renault

McLaren released Magnussen from his contract at the end of the year, opening the door for the Dane to join Renault after the French marque ended their four-year hiatus in the sport by purchasing the Lotus F1 Team.

Unfortunately for Magnussen, early season struggles meant his only points finish was a seventh in Russia. His second points finish came via a 10th in Singapore, before ending the year with two retirements. He ended the year 16th in the standings with seven of Renault’s eight points.

Switching to Haas

Magnussen left Renault and joined Haas for 2017, taking over from Esteban Gutierrez as Romain Grosjean’s teammate. After retiring from the Australian Grand Prix, Magnussen finished eighth in China to score his first points for his new team. He crossed the line 10th in Monaco, with Grosjean finishing eighth, making it Haas’ first ever double points-finish.

In Azerbaijan, Magnussen ran as high as third but eventually finished seventh, before going on a run of seven races without a point. Two more points finishes came in Japan and Mexico, with Magnussen ending the year on 19 points, nine back of Grosjean.

Haas and Magnussen improve

The Haas VF-18 was a significant improvement on the team’s prior entry, helping Magnussen qualify fifth for the season-opener in Australia. However after running as high as fourth, both Magnussen and Grosjean retired from the race after their cars were fitted with he incorrect tyres during their pit stops.

Magnussen finished in the points regularly throughout the 2018 season, with another fifth coming in Austria, while also being involved in incidents with the likes of Pierre Gasly, Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc.

In the end, Magnussen ended the year ninth with 56 points, his best ever finish, 19 points clear of Grosjean.

Haas fall down the grid

Unfortunately for Magnussen, Haas’ form dipped in 2019 with the car performing well in qualifying while struggling during the race.

A sixth-place in Australia proved to be his best result of the season, with the Dane finishing in the points on three more occasions. A low point for Magnussen and Haas came in Britain when he made contact with Grosjean on the opening lap, ending the race for both drivers.

Magnussen ended the year in 16th with 20 points, 12 ahead of Grosjean.

Things didn’t improve for Magnussen in 2020, as his only points came via a 10th place finish in Hungary. Grosjean didn’t fare much better, scoring two points, with Haas ending the year ninth in the Constructors’ Championship.

F1 departure and return

Magnussen, along with Grosjean, left Haas following the 2020 season. The Dane spent 2020 competing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, while also driving with father Jan and Anders Fjordbach in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The trio finished 29th overall and 17th in the LMP2 class while driving the No.49 High Class Racing LMP2 car.

Magnussen was slated to be part of Peugeot Sport’s driver line-up for the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship, as well as being the third driver in the No.02 Chip Ganassi Racing DPi car for the 2022 WeatherTeach SportsCar Championship.

However, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Haas terminated their contract with Nikita Mazepin, opening the door for Magnussen to return to the team on a multi-year deal for the 2022 F1 season.