Kevin Magnussen claims Jenson Button was preparing to retire from F1 in late 2014 and says he had been assured of a seat at McLaren for 2015.
After a mixed rookie campaign in 2014, Magnussen was dropped by McLaren in a drawn out saga which saw them opt for the experience of Button alongside new signing Fernando Alonso. After a year on the sidelines as reserve driver Magnussen was dropped by McLaren earlier this season but he says he had been led to believe a senior drive was his just a year earlier.
"I was told that it was my seat [for 2015]", Magnussen told the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. "That I didn't need to worry. I can't remember exactly when it was, but it was at the end of the season."
The decision to retain Button was helped by the 2009 world champion's strong finish to that campaign, which helped the team hold off Force India for fifth in the constructors' championship. Magnussen thinks Button's late resurgence came from the mindset he was about to retire.
"Jenson had his two best races at the end. He did really well. But he had also hung photos of his entire career in his room. He had a helmet ready to go that said 'Goodbye' on it. He was driving only to have fun and enjoy his last two races without stress or pressure, believing 100 percent that he was done in Formula One."
Button faced similar questions about retiring this year before signing a new deal for 2016, which will see him partner Alonso again. Magnussen says he has nothing but respect for his former team-mate and understands the reasons he lost out on the 2015 drive.
"Jenson is one of the best and there's nothing [negative] between us. We are in the same sport and competing for the same seats. There is full respect. I know why he got the seat and there's nothing between him and me at all."
Magnussen was eventually dropped from his reserve driver role at McLaren via e-mail on his birthday this October.