Originally scheduled to be sitting on the sidelines in 2015 as understudy to Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, Kevin Magnussen finds himself set to line-up on the grid for the season opener in Australia for the McLaren-Honda team after Alonso’s concussion injury suffered during pre-season testing in Spain.
Magnussen accepts that the reasoning behind his return was not the way he would have wanted to race in Australia, but hopes to put in the best performance he can at Albert Park this weekend.
“Although I didn’t expect to be sitting in the cockpit in Australia, I’ve spent the winter preparing as I would normally for a race season, so I feel fit and ready for the task ahead of me and to do the best I can for the team,” revealed Magnussen.
“Of course, the reason I am here is an unusual one, but my job is to do the best job I can for the team while Fernando is out of the cockpit, and that’s what I’ll do.”
Magnussen returns to the scene of his debut a year ago when he took an amazing podium finish, finding himself second after the disqualification ahead of him of Daniel Ricciardo. He admits standing on the podium in 2014 was a memory that will stay with him.
“To be back in Melbourne is a fantastic feeling, especially as those memories of my podium here last year are incredibly special and something I’ll never forget,” insisted Magnussen. “I loved racing on this circuit last year and I’m really looking forward to getting back out on track in Friday practice to continue the development of our car here.
“Although we had some challenges in Barcelona, overall the MP4-30 felt very positive and certainly different from last year’s car, in a good way.”
Magnussen knows he is on a hiding to nothing in Australia, having completed less than forty laps in the car on his sole day of testing at the end of February. He is hoping to provide the team with as much feedback as possible, and feels up to the challenge despite possible reliability concerns with the MP4/30.
“Of course, we aren’t expecting to win here, but my focus is on setting up the car for race conditions and pushing our progress forward,” said Magnussen. “I’ll be working hard with my engineers to give them as much valuable feedback as possible so that they can keep developing the car and improving our performance and reliability.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to get more mileage under my belt in the MP4-30, and this will in turn benefit the team over the coming months as I work with the team back in Woking.
“The racing is sure to be unpredictable here at the start of the new season, and it’ll be really interesting to find out where we compare to the rest of the grid, but I’m definitely up for the challenge.”