McLaren believes it can protect rookie 2014 signing Kevin Magnussen from “the ravages” of Formula 1 next season.
The 21-year-old Dane is moving straight into the second McLaren F1 seat after winning this season’s Formula Renault 3.5 title.
Magnussen replaces Sergio Perez alongside Jenson Button, with the Mexican having been dropped by the multiple title-winning McLaren team after just a single season. McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale says the team is well aware that Magnussen faces the pressure of expectation having been given this opportunity as a rookie.
“I hope we can protect him from the ravages of F1,” Neale said. “For anybody coming up from another series to F1, the white heat of expectation is very difficult. So we need to shelter them from that expectation in the media, and the ups and the downs in the media that inevitably go with it.”
Neale added that McLaren’s experience in successfully bringing Lewis Hamilton straight into F1 from GP2 in 2007 showed it knew how to handle newcomers.
“We have done it before,” he said. “We did it well with Lewis and we will do it again here.”
Despite being up against Red Bull protege Antonio Felix da Costa and fellow McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne, Magnussen took charge of the FR3.5 title race and won the championship with a race to spare.
“He has got a very strong head and has had the kind of year that has been about tenacity and fight,” said Neale. “He is a very level-headed and quick guy and we are really looking forward to getting him in the car.”