Kevin Magnussen has revealed the deep shock of discovering at the eleventh hour that his F1 career was stalling after just one year.
In 2014, the Dane’s fledgling career was racing towards the end of its debut year with promising early form and – according to him – the certainty of more to come.
“I was told that it was my seat” for 2015, Magnussen told the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. “That I didn’t need to worry.
“I can’t remember exactly when it was, but it was at the end of the season.”
According to the 23-year-old, what ultimately transpired is that, having already signed up Fernando Alonso for 2015, McLaren changed its mind about pairing the highly-rated Spaniard with Magnussen.
Magnussen admits he finished 2014 with a couple of bad outings, just as his teammate at the time, Jenson Button, stepped into a high gear of form.
“Jenson had his two best races at the end,” Magnussen said. “He did really well. But he (Button) had also hung photos of his entire career in his room. He had a helmet ready to go that said ‘Goodbye’ on it.
“He was driving only to have fun and enjoy his last two races without stress or pressure, believing 100 per cent that he was done in formula one,” claimed Magnussen.
What happened next, he said, was that McLaren changed its plans completely, pulling Button from the brink of retirement and leaving Magnussen on the reserve bench for 2015.
A year after that, McLaren dispensed with the Dane completely.
Via the media, he has exchanged a few barbs with McLaren supremo Ron Dennis, particularly over his alleged ousting by email, but is now prepared to move on.
“Formula one is a hard world,” said Magnussen. “If you can’t handle it, you have to find something else to do. It could have been done with better style I think, but so what? I don’t care.”
And he especially has no hard feelings for Button, who will once again line up alongside Alonso in 2016.
“Jenson is one of the best and there’s nothing (negative) between us,” said Magnussen. “We are in the same sport and competing for the same seats. There is full respect.
“I know why he got the seat and there’s nothing between him and me at all.”
Magnussen has toyed with a switch to Le Mans for 2016, but it is believed he is closer to stepping into the premier German touring car series DTM with Mercedes.
As for McLaren, he said: “McLaren is not fast enough to win anything right now, so in the end it’s not where I want to be.
“But I think they have a good chance to come back if they are willing to change some things. For me, it wasn’t to be and now I am starting afresh.”