McLaren sizing up Danish prospect to replace Perez

Patrick Appleton07 Nov 2013 11:18

Kevin Magnussen has emerged as a shock candidate to replace Sergio Perez as Jenson Button’s McLaren team-mate next season.

The young Dane is the current Formula Renault 3.5 feeder series champion and son of former McLaren and Stewart driver Jon Magnussen.

McLaren are said to be disappointed with Perez’ performance this season and are considering options to replace the Mexican.

Senior figures in the Surrey-based outfit believe that the 28-year-old has shown this season he does not possess the skill-set needed to flourish in F1. Some believe he just isn’t fast enough.

Others in the British team believe Button is pushing for Perez to stay, as the former world champion knows he can outperform him, therefore increasing his chances of keeping his seat in 2015.

Magnussen is considered, along with Belgian prospect Stoffel Vandoorne, as a future world champion by those at McLaren.

Vandoorne is likely to race in the GP2 feeder championship next season, and with Fernando Alonso – a prime McLaren target – set for another year at Ferrari, the battle for the seat looks set to be between Perez and Magnussen.

The 21-year-old became a development driver for the team in 2012 and has posted a series of impressive times, including at last month’s Korean Grand Prix and last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"Kevin has had two runs in an F1 car,” team principal Martin Whitmarsh told the BBC.

“In Abu Dhabi on his third flying lap, he did a time that was good enough for sixth on the grid, which is pretty impressive."

Magnussen is confident he can deliver in the pressurised world of Formula One, and with a team like McLaren behind him he says anything is possible.

"If I get the chance with a big team then it would be because they expect me to deliver and only because they think I am the right solution," he said.

"I feel I'm ready. I have won in everything I have driven in so why would that change in Formula 1?"