Feb.4 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Kevin Magnussen said he felt lucky to have been given a rare “second chance” in formula one.
The Dane was unveiled as a race driver for the new Renault works team on Wednesday, replacing Pastor Maldonado at the eleventh hour over a sponsorship dispute.
And Magnussen, 23, has his own backer, Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen whose ‘Jack and Jones’ fashion label is now a prominent on-car sponsor of the Enstone team.
But Cyril Abiteboul, Renault’s managing director, said he was happy to be giving Magnussen a “second chance”, having performed “sensationally” for McLaren in 2014.
“Not many drivers get a second chance,” beamed Magnussen at the Paris launch.
He said he feared that one more year on the reserve bench could have ended his F1 dream altogether.
“I don’t think you can be out two years unless you’re a world champion. This was literally make or break, and luckily I made it,” he said.
When they split, Ron Dennis vowed to help Magnussen find a new race seat in F1, but Magnussen told the AP news agency on Wednesday: “No, McLaren didn’t help.
“Hopefully I’ll prove many points this year,” he smiled later.
Magnussen admitted that being dropped by McLaren was a hard blow.
“I grew up a lot since then,” he is quoted by Finland’s Ilta Sanomat newspaper. “It’s tough when you have to take some big steps backwards, but it’s true what they say about hard times making you stronger.”
“The main thing is that I feel much more relaxed this time. I felt a lot of pressure the first year at McLaren. I feel it now but in a much more positive way.”
He also told the Danish newspaper BT: “It was unbelievably painful to watch my (McLaren) car driving around without me in it. There were times when I was close to giving up — just not quite.
“There were times when I was close to not believing in it anymore, but you find out how much you love something when you don’t have it.”