F1: Kevin Magnussen gets McLaren drive, Lotus hires Heikki Kovalainen

Kevin Magnussen (right) and Jenson Button (left) will be teammates in Formula One next season.

Story highlights

  • McLaren announce Kevin Magnussen will drive for the team in 2014
  • The Dane will partner 2009 Formula One world champion Jenson Button
  • Heikki Kovalainen will replace Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus for final two races of 2013
  • Raikkonen is to undergo back surgery ahead of his move to Ferrari

On the same day a young rising star is given his big break in Formula One, one old-timer is given a chance to kick-start his motorsport career.

McLaren announced Thursday that rookie Kevin Magnussen will race for the British team in the 2014, while Lotus confirmed veteran Heikki Kovalainen will be part of its driver lineup for the remaining two races of this season.

Magnussen -- whose father Jan raced for McLaren at the 1995 Pacific Grand Prix in Japan -- replaces Mexican Sergio Perez, who revealed Wednesday he will be departing less than one year after joining from Sauber.

"I'm absolutely overjoyed to be making my Formula One debut with McLaren," the 21-year-old Danish driver said in a statement.

"I'll put it simply: this team is the best," added the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion.

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"It's been my dream to drive for McLaren ever since I was a small kid, and it's no exaggeration to say that I've dedicated almost every day of my life to achieving the goal of becoming a McLaren F1 driver."

Read: Sergio Perez to leave McLaren

    Magnussen, who came through McLaren's young driver program, will partner 2009 world champion Jenson Button, who has experienced a frustrating season in which he has collected just 60 points from 17 races.

    Perez, known as "Checo," has fared even worse with 35 points, though his fifth in India last month matched Button's best finish so far.

    McLaren, one of the most successful teams in F1 history, is having one of its worst seasons since the 1980s -- being fifth overall, more than 400 points behind champion Red Bull.

    Team principal Martin Whitmarsh is excited to have a driver of Magnussen's potential onboard for next year.

    "The manner in which he won this year's World Series by Renault 3.5 Championship was truly outstanding, showcasing as it did not only his impressive natural pace but also his increasing maturity and ability to structure and manage a championship campaign," Whitmarsh said.

    "I want to take this opportunity to thank Checo, who has developed well during a difficult season, as his recent run of points-scoring finishes underlines.

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    "He's a lovely guy and a fine driver -- fast and combative -- and I'm sure he'll build on that firm foundation in 2014."

    Read: Hamilton eying glory on 'level playing field'

    Kovalainen arrives at Lotus as a replacement for fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who will miss the rest of the season to undergo back surgery.

    Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, is returning to his former team Ferrari in 2014 as a replacement for the outgoing Brazilian driver Felipe Massa.

    Kovalainen, who will partner Romain Grosjean at races in the U.S. and Brazil, made his F1 debut in 2007 and spent two seasons with McLaren in 2008 and 2009.

    He has been working as a test driver for Caterham, having raced for the team during the 2012 season -- and in its previous incarnation as Team Lotus from 2010-11. The former Renault team took over the Lotus name after that.

    "It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 team for the final two races of 2013," the 32-year-old said ahead of this weekend's United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

    "Jumping into a car so late in the year when you have not been competing in the races all season will be a challenge, but I know the team at Enstone well so I have no concerns about getting up to speed."

    Kovalainen will have the chance to make a late play for a 2014 drive at Lotus, which has been linked to Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado, replaced at Williams by Massa.