Can Kevin Magnussen emulate Lewis Hamilton's rookie season success?

Kevin Magnussen is McLaren’s first rookie since Lewis Hamilton drove for the team in 2007, almost winning the Drivers’ Championship title in his rookie season.

The Dane thinks he can follow in the world champion’s footsteps, confident he can make an impression in his debut season.

“He [Hamilton] had great success at McLaren arriving there as a rookie and it is definitely possible to do,” Magnussen said in a recent interview with AUTOSPORT.

“I know he worked incredibly hard, and the good thing is that I am in the same team as he was.

“They [McLaren] have had a rookie before; they know how to treat a rookie and how to work with a rookie. That is good, a really good thing.”

This year’s radically different design regulations may well work out in the rookie’s favour due to the fact that the experience of the more experienced F1 drivers – including his teammate, Jenson Button – will be with the old setup and technology.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh echoed this sentiment, stating that this is in fact the ideal environment for the rookie to flourish.

“You can say actually this is an ideal opportunity because everything the older drivers have learned, all that experience, is different,” he added.

“The powertrain is very, very different. The complexity of the whole energy cycling, and what is going to go on, is very different. So on that front he has as much experience as Fernando Alonso or Jenson Button.”

The 21-year-old, who won the Formula Renault 3.5 title last year, is replacing Sergio Pérez in the team’s 2014 MP4-29 challenger.

He does not have as many F1 miles under his belt, but his time on the track has been impressive thus far, shining in ‘Young Driver’ test outings for the team.

In 2012, he set the quickest time at the ‘Young Drivers’ test in November at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit and as a part of the McLaren team’s driver development program, he has also had plenty of time in the team’s simulator over the course of 2013.

Kevin's father Jan had a one-off outing with McLaren in 1995The Magnussen name is not foreign to McLaren either, as Kevin’s father Jan served as a test driver and raced for the Woking squad, substituting for the unwell Mika Häkkinen at the 1995 Pacific Grand Prix.

A subsequent stint racing for the Stewart team in 1997-8 achieved little, but Jan later went on to achieve considerable success in sports cars, having racked up five GT-class wins at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Kevin will no doubt want to surpass his father’s legacy, at least in terms of his F1 results.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied
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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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