During his debut season, Magnussen was impressive for a rookie and even scored a podium on debut. He later scored point on 11 occasions as he finished the season on 55 points. While his older and more experienced teammate, Jenson Button scored 126 points, Magnussen’s season was still raising eyebrows.
Unfortunately, it was not enough for the Dane to keep his seat and Ron Dennis gave him the worst birthday present ever. He lost out to Fernando Alonso, who would later partner Button for the next couple of seasons.
Speaking on the official F1 podcast, Kevin Magnussen said, “Jenson and I already knew at Spa that Alonso was signed and one of us would have to leave. That’s when the team-internal fight became really intense.”
“The team was enthusiastic about me and supported me enormously, Eric Boullier and the rest of the team gave me a feeling of security,”
He even revealed that Button was under the impression that his own seat was in danger and was preparing to leave. As a result, Kevin Magnussen never had a backup plan in the unlikely scenario of his departure. Naturally, it came back to bite him when Button was announced to partner Alonso.
As it turned out, even when the board members voted, the majority went in Magnussen’s direction. However, the final say lay with TAG CEO Mansour Ojjeh and representatives of the Mumtalakat investment fund of the Bahrain royal family. They preferred Button, which was against then team boss, Ron Dennis’ wishes.
“I don’t know why it went this way. I think they just wanted to wipe Ron out,” Magnussen continued. “And whatever Ron would have wanted to do, they would have fought back,”
“He [Button] is a very nice, funny and charismatic guy, but he is also a merciless fighter and very intelligent. So he’s not just a teammate, especially for a rookie like me. I felt like I was faster, but he had more experience and knew how to use it well. I learned a lot from him.”
“Jenson was very close to both the Bahraini and Mansour and he also did a great job there and was with the right people. He did what he had to do – I think I learned my lesson in this respect as well.”