Ron Dennis, the CEO of McLaren Technology Group, says the team’s former driver Kevin Magnussen was let go because he failed to “achieve the goals” that were set out for him.
In 2014, Magnussen was signed to the race team, the first rookie to drive for McLaren since a certain Lewis Hamilton, only to be demoted to the reserve driver role in 2015 to make way for ex-Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, and remains the last McLaren driver to stand on the podium, having finished second on his F1 debut in Melbourne; he finished his rookie season eleventh in the Drivers’ Championship with 55 points.
The Dane officially split with McLaren in October after five years, with Dennis defending the decision to not renew Magnussen’s contract.
“The reality is, we gave him every opportunity to come to terms with the split,” said Dennis. “He was given every opportunity, a season in Formula 1, followed by very clear goals that he had to achieve and he did not achieve those goals.
“Both he and all drivers that come to McLaren and leave McLaren, always get continuous support if they want to receive it. We don’t walk away from our drivers. We are always supportive of our drivers, although some have left under a little bit of a dark cloud so there is an exception to the rule.
“We do a great deal. There are other teams that do it, we do a great deal to bring young drivers on and give them an opportunity. We paid for Kevin’s career. We paid for Lewis’ career. People forget that we paid for Nico [Rosberg]’s career in the early days.
“People in F1 have come and gone that have had their careers paid for. There is a point at which you have to take difficult decisions.”