McLaren set for 2015 driver decision
McLaren is expected to make a decision on its 2015 driver line-up at a Thursday board meeting.
McLaren's drivers in 2014
- Though Kevin Magnussen impressed at points during his rookie campaign, which included a podium on his Melbourne debut, he finished 71 points behind Jenson Button in the final championship standings.
- Junior prodigy Stoffel Vandoorne won four races in his debut GP2 season as he finished runner-up to Jolyon Palmer.
The team has been stalling on the choice between Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen for several months, whose current deals both expired at the end of the current campaign. Fernando Alonso is widely believed to have been signed to the other seat on a multi-year deal after ending his five-year stint at Ferrari.
In Button and Magnussen McLaren has completely contrasting prospects; Button is the veteran of the paddock with 266 grand prix starts, while Magnussen has just completed a mixed rookie season. The switch to Honda power for next season and its limited mileage in the Abu Dhabi tests means the experience of Button could be an invaluable tool alongside Alonso, with reports suggesting the Spaniard would prefer the 2009 world champion as his team-mate.
With long-time reserve driver Gary Paffett leaving McLaren in November it is possible for McLaren to retain both Button and Magnussen, with the latter dropping back into fill the test role. Button's F1 career hinges on the decision as he has already made it clear he has little motivation continuing in the sport for a less competitive team. A switch to the World Endurance Championship has been mooted as an option if he is dropped by McLaren.
Ron Dennis recently told the Press Association it was a "broader choice" than just Button or Magnussen, suggesting McLaren's junior sensation Stoffel Vandoorne could also be in the running for a promotion to elevation. Vandoorne had a stand-out rookie season in GP2 this season but McLaren boss Eric Boullier has stated his preference for keeping the Belgian in the feeder series to challenge for the championship in 2015.
A meeting at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking on Thursday should finalise the decision but will not necessarily be followed by an immediate announcement.