Marussia has emerged as a potential destination for the McLaren-backed rookie Kevin Magnussen in 2013. This week, Marussia team boss John Booth admitted the team would like to keep its current drivers in 2014; well-funded Max Chilton, and the Ferrari-linked Jules Bianchi. But as the Williams-bound Pat Symonds remarked as a parting shot recently, Marussia's "hands are tied" when it comes to needing to make its driver decisions with commercial implications in mind.
Enter Magnussen, the 20-year-old son of former Danish F1 driver Jan. He is the cream of McLaren's development driver programme, impressing when he drove the British team's 2013 car at the recent Silverstone test. Boss Martin Whitmarsh said afterwards that Magnussen deserves a place on the 2014 grid. The youngster is leading this year's Formula Renault 3.5 series, clearly ahead of the likely 2014 Toro Rosso driver Antonio Felix da Costa, and the new Sauber protege Sergey Sirotkin.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Whitmarsh wants to place Magnussen in F1 "as early as 2014, to give him a year of training without pressure". "There are not many options," correspondent Michael Schmidt said. "One possibility would be Marussia." McLaren already works with Marussia on the technical side, leasing its wind tunnel and simulator to the backmarker team.
Jules Bianchi was placed at Marussia this year, but Ferrari driver 'academy' chief Luca Baldisseri hinted a step into the midfield might be appropriate for the impressive French rookie for 2014. "For the future," he said, "it will be important to know if his presence in formula one will have some continuity and in that case, what could be the potential of his team." (GMM)
Order the latest McLaren merchandise here!