Citing the need to keep focus on the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend, McLaren has announced that it will delay a final decision on its 2015 driver lineup until at least December.
Team principal Eric Boullier had said last month that McLaren would aim to have the matter settled before Abu Dhabi. Instead, both of its current drivers, ex-World Champion Jenson Button and rookie Kevin Magnussen, will enter the final race without confirmation of a place on the grid for next season.
“Selecting the optimal driver line-up for a Formula One team is clearly an important process, and it is therefore one that requires precise and prolonged analysis,” the team said in a statement.
“That being the case, and in order to avoid distracting the race team from its primary objective during the final Grand Prix weekend of the season, which is to secure the best possible on-track results, we have decided to defer our final deliberations relating to our 2015 driver line-up until a date no earlier than Monday December 1st.”
The team also tweeted:
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso remains heavily rumored to be returning to Woking in 2015 as McLaren flips engine manufacturers from Mercedes to Honda; the Honda power unit made its unofficial debut recently during a filming day at Silverstone.
McLaren’s statement ended with the team confirming that it would run a Honda test car during the post-race test session at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit.
“…We have spent the past nine months comprehensively recruiting and restructuring within our design and engineering departments; over the next few days, we will be evaluating and trialling a range of aerodynamic upgrades for the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and for the 2015 Formula 1 season,” it said.
“Furthermore, we are now only a few days away from formally commencing our exciting technical partnership with Honda, and, subject to satisfactory final bench-testing, it is currently our intention to run our interim development car, the McLaren MP4-29H/1X1, on the test days that will follow the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”