The worst kept secret in Formula 1 is now official. Kevin Magnussen has been confirmed as a driver alongside British rookie Jolyon Palmer at the newly rebadged Renault F1 team.
The announcement in Paris today came after weeks of speculation. Magnussen will be replacing former Lotus Driver Pastor Maldonado.
Maldonado confirmed on Monday via Twitter he would not be partaking in the 2016 season. The Venezuelan was supposed to be driving for the newly rebadged Renault team, but he has lost the seat due to his sponsorship payments falling through. PDVSA, the Venezuelan sponsored oil and gas company, and Maldonado’s principal backers, had been paying £20million a year for Maldonado’s seat in Formula 1. However due to the falling rate of oil prices the economy out there has crashed, resulting in payments to the team stopping.
Magnussen finished 11th in the standings in his first Formula 1 season at McLaren in 2014. He was however dropped by the team as a full time driver in favour of double world champion Fernando Alonso. He took on the role of reserve and test driver for the 2015 season for McLaren, even filling in for Alonso at the first race. However, he was dropped by McLaren four months ago via email on his birthday. Now the Danish driver has been given a second chance at Renault, and will partner British rookie Jolyon Palmer.
Both drivers were present alongside reserve driver Esteban Ocon at the launch of the car, the RS16. While Renault Sport F1,formerly Lotus F1, also confirmed Frederic Vasser will be the new racing director of the team. Carmen Jorda is set to carry on as the teams development driver, with Bob Bell taking over as chief technical officer. Renault also announced a host of new partners including car makers Infinity. The team are realistic but ambitious, setting themselves a target of scoring podiums in three years time. “We have won in F1 as a team and as an engine supplier,” Managing director Cyril Abiteboul said during the launch. “There is no reason why we cannot repeat that.”
The car features a predominantly black livery, with flakes of yellow, very similar to the colour scheme of the Renault team last time they were in F1.
The car’s first outing will be at the first pre-season test in Barcelona on the 22nd of Febuary.
Image Credit: Renault Sport F1