It was believed McLaren is on the verge of confirming Sergio Perez as Jenson Button's continuing teammate for 2014. But a report by respected correspondent Tom Cary in the Telegraph newspaper claims the Mexican rookie could still be ousted after just a single season with the great British team.
Reportedly, Perez would be replaced by another rookie, the McLaren-developed youngster Kevin Magnussen, who has just wrapped up the Formula Renault 3.5 series. The son of former McLaren test driver Jan, the young Magnussen won a GP2 test as a prize for his 2013 title, but according to Cary he "pulled out" of the run at the last minute this week "for unexplained reasons".
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh recently described Formula Renault 3.5 as "a much higher quality championship than GP2", and so the test may have been seen as a threat to Magnussen's reputation. Indeed, Formula Renault 3.5 has also housed well-known, F1-linked names like Stoffel Vandoorne, Antonio Felix da Costa, Sergey Sirotkin and Carlos Sainz jr this year.
The newly-crowned 2013 GP2 champion, meanwhile, is Fabio Leimer. For the young Swiss, F1 is "as far away from Leimer as the moon", according to the veteran correspondent for Blick newspaper, Roger Benoit. 21-year-old Magnussen, on the other hand, is knocking loudly on the door, but it was expected he would make his debut for a team like Force India or Marussia.
"For me," he told Cary in Abu Dhabi, "if I can get a competitive seat in the first year I would prefer that. It's true there is a bigger risk in going to a top team because if you don't perform then you're out of formula one. But for me, if I get to a top team and don't perform then it means I'm not good enough," added Magnussen. (GMM)