The future of Sergio Perez at McLaren is believed to be in jeopardy as the team weighs up promoting Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen to the team.
Magnussen romped to victory in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship this year winning five races in his sophomore season (and losing a sixth following a technical infringement) and claiming the title by 60 points.
McLaren are understood to have approached several F1 teams with a view to placing Magnussen with them next year, but reports suggest he could follow in Lewis Hamilton’s footsteps by making his debut for the team next year.
Magnussen is unfazed by the possibility of making his debut in F1 next year during a year of upheaval in the regulations. “It could be an advantage for us rookies because if anything it means that experience counts for less,” he told Sky. “No drivers will have experience of driving these cars.”
Perez’s position is in doubt following some lackluster performances earlier this year. But he has shown signs of turning it around recently, equaling McLaren’s best result of the season so far with fifth place in India.
McLaren enjoy an embarrassment of riches on their junior driver program at the moment, as Belgian drive Stoffel Vandoorne finished runner-up to Magnussen in his first season of Formula Renault 3.5.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.