Deal for Magnussen to go elsewhere fell through - McLaren
Martin Whitmarsh has revealed he shook hands on a deal for Kevin Magnussen to drive elsewhere next year but the team in question pulled out.
Magnussen will replace Sergio Perez at McLaren next year, joining as a rookie after winning the Formula Renault 3.5 title. His arrival leaves Perez without a drive next year at a late stage in the driver market, but Whitmarsh said the timing of the announcement was due to a deal with another team falling through.
"I have offered him to a number of teams and we couldn't get a situation for him to be in F1, so we decided to move him to ourselves," he told Formula 1.com. "If Kevin didn't exist, probably Checo would still be driving for McLaren next season. But Kevin exists.
"The strongest conviction is that Kevin is an extraordinary young man who deserves to be in F1. I hoped and tried to find him a cockpit - I even did a deal and shook hands with a team principal up and down this paddock - an absolute deal - but he stepped back…"
Whitmarsh, who would not name the other team, said he believed he had a deal on the basis of a handshake, but admitted to being naive.
"Even after 25 years I find that difficult to deal with - I know I shouldn't, but I am still hopelessly naive," he added. "I still think that if you look somebody in the eye and shake hands then that's a done deal. When it turns out like in the Magnussen case, then I am shocked - and I tell myself 'learn, don't be naive'. So having to face this situation, I decided let's go for it with Kevin ourselves. I think F1 needs these young super talents to come in, but the problem with the sport at the moment is that money is doing most of the talking with most of the teams and there is a danger that we create a vacuum of young talents."