Rule changes a boost for rookie Magnussen

31 January 2014 02:01

Danish driver Kevin Magnussen believes he is at less of a disadvantage as he prepares for his first year in Formula One than would have been the case in other years due to a number of regulation changes for the new season.

Magnussen got off to the perfect start in his first session in the MP4-29 as he was fastest on the third day of pre-season in Jerez, southern Spain.

The 21-year-old is just one of a number of changes at McLaren following on from their worst season in more than 30 years in 2013.

Ron Dennis has returned as chief executive officer, whilst the Surrey-based team announced on Wednesday that Eric Boullier would be their new racing director.

However, the early signs for both McLaren and Magnussen are good as the four teams powered by Mercedes engines have made an encouraging start in Jerez.

By contrast, the four Renault-powered teams, including reigning double world champions Red Bull, have struggled to put together any significant track time as they try to come to terms with the switch to turbocharged engines.

And Magnussen believes the new landscape brought about by the changes means he is coming in on a more even playing field.

"I wouldn't say being a rookie is an advantage, for sure. It is not as big a disadvantage as it would have been in other years and that is good.

"It is a good season to come in because this car is so different and driving it is going to be so different that everyone is going to have to learn that, but I am a rookie and I still have a lot to learn things that other drivers know very well.

"Working in a Formula One team, working on a race weekend, I'll not learn anymore about these things until I experience them."

Magnussen will also have the experience of teammate and former world champion Jenson Button to guide him.

Button admitted on Wednesday that he didn't know too much about his new teammate other than that he had a nice smile.

But Magnussen feels he'll be able to pick the British driver's brain for advice as the season progresses.

"He's a nice guy. He has a lot of experience. I will learn a lot from him so I am glad to have him as a teammate."

Magnussen's achievement on Thursday was even more impressive given he only drove in the afternoon as Button was given an extra morning on the track after missing out on Tuesday as the car was not ready.

And he is looking forward to getting more laps under his belt on his first full day on Friday.

"I think I am not really looking into lap times at the minute. Obviously I'm very happy about what we did and I'm especially happy about the laps we got in.

"I'm also happy about how many laps Jenson got in. The reliability has been much better than we thought and hopefully we'll continue like that tomorrow.

"At the moment mileage is more important than reliability."

Source: AFP