McLaren not planning to leave driver decision until off-season

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McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has said that the team is not planning to wait until the end of the Formula 1 season before making a decision about its driver line-up for the 2015 season.

There has been a great deal of speculation about McLaren’s plans for next year as the British team reunites with engine supplier Honda. The two enjoyed a successful partnership together in the late 1980s, and it has been rumored that the team is looking for a big name driver to kick-start this new deal.

Jenson Button has confirmed that he is not thinking about his future at the moment, and some expected the team to wait until the end of the season before making a decision about its line-up.

However, speaking in Belgium today, Boullier confirmed that the team would not be waiting that long.

“No, it is not our plan to wait that long, no,” he said.

“I’m sure there are a lot of fans waiting, and these two guys are waiting. Obviously we went through some changes in the management of the team as you know, and obviously there is a new strategy that Ron [Dennis] and myself will try to put in place.

“We are in the position to wait a few days or a few weeks until we know where we go in the next few years. That’s why it takes a bit of time.”

When asked about his future, Button chose to focus on his efforts this season as McLaren looks to bounce back from a disappointing campaign in 2013 alongside rookie driver Kevin Magnussen.

“It’s an unusual situation, yes, but sometimes it’s that way,” he said. “Our job is to drive as fast as we can, do the best job for ourselves and the best job for the team.

“I feel that we are both doing the maximum we can, and we’re both doing a very good job.”

Both drivers qualified inside the top ten for tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix, which you can watch live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7.30am ET tomorrow.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home ofΒ Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.