Kevin Magnussen has revealed that his maiden season in F1 in 2014 should have been with Force India, with whom the Dane had a handshake deal, and not with McLaren.
As a McLaren junior, Magnussen had won the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series, and was earmarked for a promotion to the big time by McLaren Racing CEO Martin Whitmarsh, but not with the Woking-based outfit.
"I thought I was going to go to Force India actually," Magnussen remembered, speaking to F1's Tom Clarkson in the sport's latest Beyond the Grid podcast.
"I didn't have a contract, but I had a firm handshake that I was going to race for Force India and McLaren was going to supply them with stuff.
"It was going to be a deal where McLaren would put me in a Force India for a few years and then take me.
"But then Ron [Dennis] came in when Whitmarsh was out, and he wanted to change a lot of things and I was one of the things to be changed"
Magnussen hit the ground running for his first race in F1, outpacing McLaren teammate Jenson Button int the season-opening Australian Grand Prix to finish third on the road and then inherit second when second Daniel Ricciardo was excluded from the results.
Unfortunately, the Dane would score only a single top-five finish during the remainder of his maiden campaign as a Grand Prix driver in 2014.
"I got the seat instead of Perez and obviously I was pretty happy with that, but then the following year Force India ended up with three or four podiums and we only had the one," he added.
"It wouldn't have been a bad one to go with Force India, but I was obviously pretty excited."
However, at the beginning of 2015, Magnussen rather than Button was forced to make way for Fernando Alonso's return to Woking following a vote by McLaren's board of directors in which the team's owners - Ron Dennis, Mansour Ojjeh and Bahrain sovereign wealth fund Mumtakalat Holdings - had a heavy hand.
"They were going to have a vote, and I knew who would vote for me and who wouldn't," said the Haas driver.
"I ended up so that nine people voted, seven voted for me and two voted for Jenson. And the two were the two owners - Mansour and the Bahrainis - and that was enough.
"They were fighting Ron a lot, and I think they just wanted to screw Ron over and whatever Ron wanted they were going to go against that."
Magnussen thus found himself as a pawn in McLaren's internal power struggle, a battle that would leave the Dane without an F1 drive for 2015.