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)