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McLaren delays driver lineup announcement until next month

  • Published on 19 Nov 2014 08:40
  • comments 1
  • By: Rob Veenstra
The long wait to know McLaren's official 2015 driver lineup is not yet over. With Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen's careers in the balance, team boss Eric Boullier said in Brazil that the target was to announce the news before the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi this weekend. "Guys, we know you're awaiting news on our driver lineup. We'll announce after December 1 - you'll hear it here first," McLaren said on Twitter.

It is obvious that the holdup is the contractual impasse between McLaren's next race driver, the almost certainly returning Fernando Alonso, and his current team Ferrari. The Alonso situation is also blocking Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel from announcing their impending tie-up. But in a media statement, McLaren said its December delay is in fact to "avoid distracting the race team from its primary objective during the final grand prix weekend of the season".

It means Briton Button, if ultimately ousted, will reach the finish-line in Abu Dhabi on Sunday without having being able to formally farewell the sport after a 15-year career, featuring 15 wins and the 2009 title. McLaren said: "Selecting the optimal driver lineup for a formula one team is clearly an important process, and it is therefore one that requires precise and prolonged analysis."

The British team also confirmed reports that, "subject to satisfactory final bench testing", it intends to run the Honda-powered interim car at the post-race Abu Dhabi test. (GMM)

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  • As written here before, the continuing delay does also involve Alonso and Ferrari's final placement in the constructors championship. Thankfully, that will finally be decided at Abu Dhabi and he/Ferrari will then announce their separation on good terms. But, now the outcry (and recent letter) by the three smallest teams may force the F1 Commission to make some hard decisions at and after its meeting during the week following Abu Dhabi. Conceivably, that could result in an announcement that certain major F1 players - including McLaren - will field 3-car teams in 2015. Under those circumstances, I'm pretty sure that McLaren would like to have, and announce, Button on its 3-driver team. So it makes sense for them to wait a week longer. I'm sure JB is in the loop on this, just as everyone at McLaren who "needs to know" understands the Alonso/Ferrari close-out arrangements which are deferring that announcement, which needs to come first.

    • + 0
    • Nov 19 2014 - 16:50

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