McLaren hope to find Magnussen a seat in F1

Tue Oct 8, 2013 3:55pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SEOUL (Reuters) - Young Danish driver Kevin Magnussen and Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne both deserve to be in Formula One and will get there eventually, according to McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

Both are in the McLaren young driver program and are competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 series, which Magnussen leads ahead of the Belgian with one round remaining.

"I think both are really good guys and they both will get into Formula One and we've got a duty of care to get them there," Whitmarsh told reporters of the 21-year-olds.

"I think they are both pretty special."

McLaren have had talks with Lotus, Force India and Marussia about giving an opportunity to Magnussen next season.

Lotus have a vacant seat to fill, with 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen leaving for Ferrari, although Germany's Nico Hulkenberg is seen as a strong contender for that.

The other two teams both had technical partnerships with McLaren but Marussia have now aligned with Ferrari while Force India have strengthened ties with Mercedes.

"(Co-owner and principal) Vijay (Mallya) has always taken the best drivers that he could afford. And I don't think he'll change that philosophy," said Force India's deputy team principal Bob Fernley when asked about Magnussen's chances.   Continued...

McLaren Group Limited CEO Martin Whitmarsh attends a joint news conference with Honda Motor Co's President and Chief Executive Officer Takanobu Ito (not in picture) in Tokyo May 16, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato