It’s the announcement everyone has long been anticipating in Formula 1 since Maldonado announced he will not be part of the 2016 starting grid. Renault has confirmed that Kevin Magnussen will be in one of their drivers seat this season. They revealed this year’s car, too.
As Renault completed the acquisition of the Lotus F1 Team last December, the group has been rebranded as the Renault Sport F1 Team. And this year, they hope to score some points with drivers Kevin Magnussen and new F1 driver Jolyon Palmer. Meanwhile, the team also signed GP3 race winner Esteban Ocon as its third and reserve driver.
Magnussen made his debut in F1 as a reserve driver for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes back in 2013. He then became a driver for McLaren the following year. In 2015, however, McLaren decided to relegate Magnussen to the reserve driver position after signing Fernando Alonso to drive alongside Jenson Button. Late last year, McLaren boss Ron Dennis told Sky Sports that the team had decided not to renew Magnussen’s contract due to lack of performance.
“He was given every opportunity – a season in Formula 1 followed by very clear goals that he had to achieve in 2014, and he didn’t achieve those goals,” Dennis explained.
Following Renault’s announcement, Magnussen is more determined to make a competitive comeback. “I’ve been sitting on the sideline during the races for so many weekends and I’m hungry to come back and prove my worth,” the 23-year-old driver said. Renault Sport F1’s new racing director, Frédéric Vasseur, seems to believe Magnussen has the skills to get the job done. Vasseur even noted that the young driver had “a strong race season” with McLaren two years ago, giving him “a good mix of experience and youth.”
Meanwhile, Renault also unveiled its F1 car for the year, the R.S.16. It is powered by Renault’s R.E.16 power unit and features a sleek, predominant black livery. Renault racing group manager Cyril Abiteboul said that with the new car, the team hopes to achieve wins, not just points.