Denmark's flirtation with Formula 1 lasted just one season this time around as McLaren has announced this morning that it is opting for Jenson Button and not Kevin Magnussen as the partner of already-signed Fernando Alonso for the 2015 Formula 1 season.
But Magnussen's future at McLaren remains intact as the 22-year-old Dane will now become a reserve driver for the English team and drive the Super GT series in Japan for Honda next season.
“To sum up, Fernando and Jenson have started a combined total of precisely 500 grands prix between them – a mighty aggregate – and have won 47 of them,” Ron Dennis, the chairman and CEO of McLaren, said in a press release.
“Finally, I want to thank and pay tribute to Kevin, who has done a great job this season and will continue to be an integral part of our team. He will be our test, reserve and third driver, and he remains an excellent prospect for the future.”
McLaren's decision ends weeks of speculation about who would partner Alonso next season, with the young Dane drawing the short straw despite a commendable rookie Formula 1 campaign.
Solid rookie campaign
Despite Magnussen becoming the second-youngest ever driver to achieve a podium finish in the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, Button ended up scoring twice as many points as Magnussen over the course of the season (126 to 55).
Magnussen, however, would be right to feel slightly disappointed since his 11th place in the final standings was the best rookie finish out of any driver over the past five years and arguably since Lewis Hamilton finished second in 2007.
Other notable rookie finishes in recent years includes Valtteri Bottas (17th in 2013), Daniel Ricciardo (27th in 2011), Nico Hülkenberg (14th in 2010), Sebastian Vettel (14th in 2007) and Nico Rosberg (17th in 2006).
And looking at top 10 finishes, Magnussen performed well too, compared to rookies of the past. The Dane had ten top 10 finishes, compared to Button's nine during his rookie season and Sebastian Vettel's ten during their respective rookie seasons.
Magnussen also enjoyed a far superior race-finish rate than the other two, finishing 18 out of 19 races this year (94.7 percent) compared to Button (11 out of 17 – 64.7 percent) and Vettel (12 out of 18 – 66.6 percent) in their debut seasons.