Kevin Magnussen is struggling to deal with the fact McLaren’s Formula 1 car is not capable of winning races, suffering from Eric Boullier calls “rookie syndrome.”
Magnussen graduated to F1 with the team following title success in Formula Renault 3.5 last season, in which he scored eight pole positions and five wins. He managed a podium on his F1 debut in March’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix, but has since failed to finish higher than ninth as other teams have asserted themselves over McLaren in this year’s pecking order.
Boullier explained that rookie drivers like Magnussen tend to find it difficult to adjust to uncompetitive machinery in F1 when they have been used to winning regularly in single-make junior categories.
“Kevin is facing the rookie syndrome in that they all come from single-make series, and they struggle to understand that the cars they are working to develop give them some kind of result, and if you don’t have the best car you can’t fight for the win,” Boullier said. “This is where they most struggle.
“The rest is fine. He is settling in, he is very consistent, and his feedback is good enough to drive the engineering group around him to make the car faster. He’s doing very well for a rookie.”
INEXPERIENCE NOT HURTING TEAM
Magnussen’s teammate Jenson Button said ahead of the Spanish GP that “the best thing for a team is to have two experienced drivers who know what they’re doing.” But Boullier denied Magnussen’s rookie status presented an extra challenge for McLaren as it tries to recover from a difficult start and push up the grid.
“I don’t think it’s more challenging to have a rookie driver instead of two experienced drivers,” Boullier added. “A kid like Kevin can do most of the job and get enough feedback to answer some questions from the engineering team, and when you have someone more experienced like Jenson you get more details and you can dig for more problems to find solutions.”