McLaren CEO Ron Dennis has said that the team does not have a contract signed with any driver for the 2015 Formula 1 season as speculation continues to suggest that Fernando Alonso is set for a return.
Following yesterday’s shock decision from Sebastian Vettel to leave Red Bull at the end of the season, seemingly bound for Ferrari, Alonso has been marginalized and is now in a far weaker position to the one he was in even a week ago.
Alonso claims that he has known for months what he’ll be doing in 2015, reportedly angling for a return to McLaren where he spent one season back in 2007. However, Dennis reiterated yesterday that the team does not have a deal with the Spaniard for next year, nor with current drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen.
“We do not have a contract with any driver at this moment in time,” Dennis confirmed in Japan yesterday. “Of course we talk and do all the things you’d expect us to do, but at this moment in time we do not have contracts that we have activated.”
Dennis admitted that this placed a great deal of pressure on both Button and Magnussen, given that Alonso’s presence is likely to force one of them out of McLaren at the end of the season. However, the team CEO stated that his priority was producing a car good enough to win the championship in 2015 after two disappointing seasons.
“It’s not a great position to be in if you’re Jenson or Kevin,” Dennis conceded. “But the reality is they understand our priority is to produce a winning car that they can win with.
“The answer is simple, we don’t have a contract with any driver in respect to next year. That’s a simple factual statement.
“The first thing we have to be is massively attractive to all drivers and I hope we are very attractive to the two drivers who are currently and more than likely will be driving the cars next year.”
After just one season with McLaren, Magnussen will be hoping that he has done enough to secure a sophomore year in F1, but his inexperience could play against him. Although Button is vastly experienced and a former world champion, his age could put McLaren off and may force the Briton into retirement.
Of course, this is all dependent on Alonso’s next move, and following Red Bull’s swift decision to promote Daniil Kvyat, he doesn’t have many to choose from.