Speculation had been rising leading up to this week on whether Maldonado would stay at Renault (formerly known as Lotus) for the 2016 season. With uncertainty rising around the reliability of his sponsorship Renault had no choice but to replace him.
This leads us to the news which broke yesterday that Renault confirmed Kevin Magnussen, 23, as their new driver. He will feature on the grid line up with his team mate Jolyon Palmer in 2016.
“It’s an incredible feeling and it means so much. It’s not only a Formula 1 drive but it’s a top drive. Renault Sport will be fighting for world championships in the future, it might have a build-up phase, but they’re here to win and that’s a goal I share. I can’t believe I’m now a part of it.” – Magnussen to Sky Sports
Magnussen was dropped as a McLaren driver in 2014 after only one season is favour of fan favourite Jenson Button. It was announced that he would stay on with the team but as a test and reserve driver during 2015. He competed in one race weekend during the season in Australia but never made it to the track as his engine failed before the grid line up. In late 2015 it was confirmed that Magnussen would be dropped from the team entirely, after he was told in an email on his birthday.
In his first season in Formula 1 Magnussen proved what he was capable of by finishing P3 in Australia, later to be P2 after the disqualification of Daniel Ricciardo. He consistently delivered for the team and only missed out on his 2015 drive due to the engine manufacturer, Honda, wanting more high profile drivers.
Along with the announcement of Kevin Magnussen driving for Renault they also announced their new team name, Renault Sport F1 and their car design for the 2016 season.