Birthdate: Oct. 5, 1992
Birthplace: Roskilde, Denmark
Born into a racing family in 1992, Kevin Magnussen was welcomed into another racing family in 2017 as the native of Roskilde, Denmark, and the son of former Formula One driver and current sportscar racer Jan Magnussen became a member of Haas F1 Team.
Magnussen joined the American outfit for his third full season competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship. He promptly delivered, scoring five top-10 finishes with a best of seventh in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Having previously driven for established marques McLaren and Renault Sport, Magnussen is now a Haas F1 Team regular alongside teammate Romain Grosjean.
Magnussen made his Formula One debut with McLaren in 2014, earning an impressive second-place finish in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. He became the first Formula One rookie to deliver a podium finish in his debut race since Lewis Hamilton achieved the feat, also with McLaren, at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix. Eleven more point-paying finishes followed, allowing Magnussen to finish a respectable 11th in the championship standings.
Despite the strong first-year showing and being a member of the McLaren Young Driver Program since 2010, Magnussen had to settle for a reserve driver role at McLaren in 2015 when the team signed two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso to pair with 2009 champion Jenson Button. Nonetheless, Magnussen made the most of the opportunity, helping to develop the team’s MP4-30 racecar and keeping his name top-of-mind for a full-time drive in 2016.
That drive materialized with Renault Sport, but the 2016 season proved to be a challenging one with the team finishing ninth in the constructor standings, 21 points behind Haas F1 Team. Magnussen, however, scored seven of the team’s eight total points, highlighted by a seventh-place finish at the Russian Grand Prix.
The scrappy performance showcased Magnussen’s tenacity behind the wheel, something the Dane has displayed throughout his career.
Like many Formula One drivers, Magnussen’s motorsports journey began in karting before transitioning to larger and more powerful open-wheel machines. Plaudits were quickly earned, with Magnussen moving outside of Denmark to race across Europe in the traditional proving grounds of Formula One.
Magnussen’s first season in open-wheel was stout. He scored 11 wins for Fukamuni Racing en route to the 2008 Danish Formula Ford championship. That success led to a dual campaign in 2009 where Magnussen competed in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Series and the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup Series, both with Motopark Academy. Magnussen’s accomplishments included earning rookie-of-the-year status in the NEC Series while scoring a win and 12 podiums before finishing second in the championship.
Remaining with Motopark Academy, Magnussen graduated to the German Formula 3 Series in 2010 where he again captured rookie-of-the-year honors while scoring three victories, eight podiums and a third-place finish in the championship. His progress and success led to an invitation to join the respected McLaren Young Driver Program.
A second season in Formula 3 followed, this time in the prestigious British series with stalwart outfit, Carlin. Magnussen delivered once again as he amassed seven wins from eight podiums and finished second in the 2011 championship. Carlin subsequently retained Magnussen for its 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 Series campaign. In his first European-based championship season, Magnussen delivered a win and three podiums to earn his first Formula One test drive with McLaren.
The 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series saw Magnussen switch to the leading DAMS team. His previous season’s experience was translated into a dominant title-winning campaign. Magnussen won the championship with five wins and 13 podium finishes. His banner year included a second opportunity to test with McLaren, which ultimately led to the team offering him his first Formula One seat in 2014.