Kevin Magnussen is suffering from “rookie syndrome” in what his first season of Formula One, believes McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier.
Magnussen, who is in his maiden year of racing in Formula One after winning the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 championship, finished third on his F1 debut in Australia – promoted to second after Daniel Ricciardo’s exclusion – but has since picked up just three points in five races as his McLaren team have slipped down the order.
But Boullier is not worried by the Dane’s performances, which he explains stem from the difficulty for young drivers of having to readjust mentally from winning in one series every other weekend to scrapping for top 10 finishes in F1, as Magnussen has been forced to do in recent weeks.
“Kevin is facing the rookie syndrome in that they all come from single-make series, and they struggle to understand that the cars they are working to develop give them some kind of result, and if you don’t have the best car you can’t fight for the win,” said Boullier.
“This is where they most struggle.
“The rest is fine. He is settling in, he is very consistent, and his feedback is good enough to drive the engineering group around him to make the car faster.
“He’s doing very well for a rookie.”
Magnussen’s McLaren team-mate Jenson Button was honest in his assessment ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix that the Woking-based team would be better served by two experienced drivers.
But the 2009 champion’s fears are not an issue for Boullier, who said: “I don’t think it is more challenging to have a rookie driver rather than two experienced drivers.
“When you have somebody more experienced like Jenson [Button] you can get more details, and you get to dig through more problems to find solutions,” he added.
“[But] the kids now, especially kids like Kevin, can do most of the jobs and offer enough feedback to lead or to at least answer some of the questions from the engineering team.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic