Reserve role has “made me a better racing driver” – Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen insists he is a much better driver now despite not racing this season in Formula 1 after dropping down to the reserve driver role at McLaren-Honda when the team hired Fernando Alonso alongside Jenson Button.

Magnussen feels the contribution he has made during this season will stand him in good stead in the future, whether it will be back with McLaren or with another team, and was happy with the feedback he has received from McLaren’s Race Engineers such as Andrea Stella.

“Although it’s massively frustrating not to have been racing this year, I’ve knuckled down and tried to view it as a learning opportunity,” said Magnussen to Autosport. “In fact I’ve learned a hell of a lot.

“I’ve been working intensively with the McLaren engineers, in Woking and at the races, and I’ve been able to immerse myself in that work more thoroughly than a race driver would ever have time to do.

“I’ve given the engineers an extra driver’s-eye opinion on the data from Fernando and Jenson, analysing it against onboard video footage in order to help them get the best out of our car.

“I write detailed reports every race weekend and contribute to nearly all the technical debriefs. I’m pleased to say some of McLaren’s top race engineers; guys like Andrea for example, have said good things about my input. I’ve really learned a lot.

“So, although I wouldn’t have deliberately chosen to have a year not racing, in fact it’s made me a better racing driver. It’s added significantly to my skillset in terms of advancing my knowledge in some really important technical areas, like driving-technique analysis, car development and set-up.

“Those extra skills will always be useful to me, and to any team I drive for, from now on.”

Magnussen has been linked with the new Haas F1 Team, but will be absent from his role as reserve driver in Singapore this weekend due to breaking his hand in a cycling accident.