McLaren still plans driver announcement before Abu Dhabi
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says his team is still hoping to make a driver announcement before the end of the season, but is currently in the process of weighing up its options.
Fernando Alonso has been linked to the team as Sebastian Vettel is expected to be announced as his replacement at Ferrari. Alonso left McLaren under a cloud in 2007 after falling out with team boss Ron Dennis, but is facing a year on the sidelines if he does not negotiate a contract with the team in 2015.
Boullier was not willing to give any hints on his driver line-up for next season, but said the team is still on course to make an announcement before the season finale in Abu Dhabi next month.
"I hope to sort out our decision on the driver line-up before the end of the season, yes," Boullier said. "It's true that it takes a bit more time than maybe we have to deal with, but it's still on course to be before the end of the season, yes."
Current McLaren driver Jenson Button is facing uncertain futures as a result of the Alonso interest, but Boullier said he is still in the running for a drive.
"I understand that he may not feel comfortable and he is obviously concerned about his future. But again, unfortunately, I'm in charge of McLaren Racing and we have to build the best for the team and drivers are obviously very important for our discussion. Jenson is more than considered to stay with us for the long-term, but we are still investigating what we want to do with our driver line-up once we have all the data in hand."
Asked whether Button's recent success on track would help sway a decision, Boullier added: "We are not in these considerations today, to be honest. We know the value of Jenson and we know he is a world-champion-class driver and has been a world champion already. We don't need him to deliver an extra job on track in order to save his job."