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McLaren youngsters 'are mouth-watering prospects'

ESPN Staff
October 22, 2013 « Mercedes 'determination' pleases Brawn | McLaren will wait for Prodromou »
Kevin Magnussen is in the frame for a drive with Marussia next season © Sutton Images

McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale has described the team's young drivers Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne as "mouth-watering prospects".

Magnussen wrapped up the Formula Renault 3.5 title last weekend, with Vandoorne finishing second in his rookie year. Team principal Martin Whitmarsh has made it clear he would like Magnussen to move up to Formula One next season and Marussia has confirmed it is considering him, with Neale saying both drivers are being looked at as future drivers for McLaren.

"For our own young drivers of course with Kevin Magnussen winning the Formula Renault 3.5 series we're delighted for him, and Stoffel Vandoorne winning the rookie championship and also finishing runner-up in the series are mouth-watering prospects for us for the future," Neale told a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "That's all going around the mix at the moment as we decide what we're going to do with our driver line-up over the next two or three years, and we're working very hard to make sure that those two are part of our future plans."

On the promotion of Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso from GP3 to Formula One next season, Neale believes new testing regulations should help drivers make the step up more often.

"I think stepping out of either the GP or Formula Renault series in to Formula One is still a very big step. The weight of expectation, the technology in particular of the transition from this year to next year where we ourselves are trying to really work out how these packages are going to operate effectively, how do we run efficiently, how do we overcome the aerodynamic and powertrain challenges; it's difficult enough for us without throwing a young driver in to the mix.

"It has been done successfully, historically, by the exceptional candidates, but Formula One is a very high-pressure environment, very unforgiving, and that's what makes it so exciting. But we do need the young drivers coming through. I think that some of the work that's been done around the reintroduction of testing will help some of that, and it is an exciting prospect watching the next generation of drivers ready themselves on the horizon."