Home Featured PaddockScout Awards 2013: Title Fight of the Year

PaddockScout Awards 2013: Title Fight of the Year

by Formula Scout

Magnussen Vandoorne

Formula Renault 3.5 Series

Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne

The end result may not have been a close one, but the battle for the Formula Renault 3.5 title between Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne was one between two of the most impressive young drivers of 2013.

The fact that Vandoorne joined Magnussen in McLaren?s young driver programme added an interesting dynamic between them before the season even got underway. Vandoorne was the bright new thing and the successor to Robin Frijns as Eurocup champion, taking his place at Fortec. Magnussen needed to react after failing to be a factor in 2012?s title fight with Carlin, but testing pace suggested he would be a contender this time with DAMS.

Vandoorne hit the ground running with a win in his first race at Monza, but Magnussen took an outstanding dominant win in Aragon to move into the points lead. They both won at Spa but Vandoorne then eradicated a 29 point gap with an imperious double at Moscow to move back ahead. Things seemed to be set up nicely for the run-in, but Vandoorne then suffered a pair of non-finishes in Austria. Magnussen twice finished third and then continued his consistent podiums with two second-places in Hungary, prompting Vandoorne to say the title was the Dane?s to lose. Magnussen found another gear to win from pole at Paul Ricard and move close to the title, but he was then stripped of the victory after a technical infringement, cutting the gap to 18 points. Magnussen continued unabated however, winning the last three races as he wrapped up the crown.

The pair impressed all onlookers, but nobody more so than McLaren, who are now convinced that both can be stars of their future. Magnussen?s maturity has got him a race seat for next year at Woking, while the less experienced Vandoorne is set to be placed in GP2 for a year.

Peter Allen