Abiteboul disappointed by Magnussen during 2016 season

Credit: Clement Marin / DPPI

Cyril Abiteboul was disappointed by the performance of Kevin Magnussen during the 2016 Formula 1 season.

Magnussen rejoined the F1 grid in 2016 with Renault Sport F1 Team, after he was demoted to reserve driver with McLaren Honda Racing in 2015 to make way for Fernando Alonso. Throughout the season, the Dane was only able to score seven points, with him struggling with the RS16 and having five retirements.

Abiteboul, the managing Director for Renault F1, has criticised Magnussen’s attitude while at the team, but does not deny that he is talented.

“Keeping Magnussen may have seemed like a logical choice in terms of keeping onboard a standard reference,” Abiteboul told France’s Auto Hebdo.

“But personally, I was disappointed by him. I was disappointed by his performance as well as by his attitude. He has undeniable talent but lacks discipline and commitment, and looks for excuses a bit too often.”

Jolyon Palmer is continuing a second season with Renault, whereas Magnussen has signed to Haas F1 Team for 2017, as the deal set out by Renault to continue for a second season was not good enough for him to take it.  Abiteboul feels Palmer’s progress was liner all season, despite only scoring one point, unlike Magnussen’s performance which started off well but didn’t continue.

“At many races, Joylon was nowhere on Friday only to steadily improve all weekend while Magnussen’s performance would start alright only to fall off thereafter,” added Abiteboul.

“Palmer moves at his own pace, in F1 just like he did on GP2 where he needs several seasons to clinch the title, but he’s on an ascending line. Logically, he should be better in 2017.”