Magnussen ‘an obvious choice’ for Renault - Abiteboul

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Renault Sport Racing managing director Cyril Abiteboul says picking Kevin Magnussen to replace the departing Pastor Maldonado was “an obvious choice”.

The Dane has been officially confirmed as Jolyon Palmer’s team-mate on Wednesday during the launch of the new Renault Sport Formula One Team.

Magnussen initially held talks with the French constructor regarding its third driver position but the 23-year-old was elevated to a full-time role when Maldonado’s sponsorship dried up.

“When this opportunity of appointing a new race driver came out, Kevin has been frankly an obvious choice to everyone,” Abiteboul told reporters at Guyancourt’s Technocentre.

“From the fact that he won the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 [title] to his fantastic first season with McLaren, though it was sometimes challenging. He was a no-brainer.

“He also was a no-brainer because we’re more than happy, as Renault, to give him a second chance in Formula One, which we think he really deserves.”

Despite an encouraging rookie season at Woking, Magnussen had to step down to a reserve role following Fernando Alonso’s return. The Dane was then let go last October, with McLaren boss Ron Dennis claiming he had failed to meet pre-defined targets.

Asked whether Renault had also set specific goals for Magnussen to achieve in 2016, Abiteboul replied:

“It’s all new, so I can’t tell you. But it's simple: he has to beat his team-mate and I will tell his team-mate that he has to beat him.”

Magnussen last raced competitively when he deputised for the sidelined Alonso in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, though he failed to start after his McLaren-Honda broke down on the formation lap.

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