A Danish racing driver has urged Kevin Magnussen to brush off news that he was actually only Renault’s second choice for 2016.
One of new team boss Frederic Vasseur’s first public acts at Renault was to announce that he actually wanted his new GP2 champion, Stoffel Vandoorne, to race this year.
“He has a contract there (at McLaren) and they did not want to let him go,” said the Frenchman, who worked with Vandoorne at his GP2 team ART last year.
Some commentators have mused that Vasseur’s comments were an odd way to welcome Magnussen to Renault, but one pundit says the Dane should just brush it off.
“It’s a test of Kevin’s psyche,” Jason Watt, a Dane and former F3000 driver, told Ekstra Bladet newspaper.
“The reality is that he does need to be mentally strong. A comment like that would irritate Kevin, but he would be foolish to pursue it further,” he said.
“He just has to swallow it. It might just have been said to give Vandoorne a boost, as I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the words were spoken (by Vasseur) to the Belgian press,” Watt added.
2016 McLaren reserve and Belgian Vandoorne, 23, will race in the Japanese open wheeler series Super Formula this year, it was confirmed by Honda on Friday.
It also emerges that Esteban Ocon, Renault’s third driver who remains part of Mercedes’ development programme, will replace the Manor-bound Pascal Wehrlein in the German touring car championship DTM in 2016.