THURSDAY THURSDAY THURSDAY! McLaren Might Finally Announce Their Drivers

Illustration for article titled THURSDAY THURSDAY THURSDAY! McLaren Might Finally Announce Their Drivers

Could the long wait for McLaren's 2015 Formula One driver lineup finally be over? Autoweek suggests that an invitation-only media event scheduled for tomorrow may, in fact, end all the speculation regardingthe Alonso/Button/Magnussen love triangle and finally narrow it down to 2 drivers.


Select members of the press are being invited to an event at McLaren's heaquarters on Thursday.

Fernando Alonso seems to be locked in, but all best are off as to who his teammate will be. Ron Dennis seems to favor the younger Kevin Magnussen, but others feel as if the more experienced Jenson Button would be the better choice to lead a new year with a brand new Honda power unit.

Many are also annoyed at the implications for Button's career. If Button ends up without a drive next year, many feel as this prolonged decision doesn't allow for a proper retirement send-off for a fifteen-year veteran of the sport. Could McLaren find a way to smooth that PR blunder over, particularly among its British fanbase?

"What is happening at McLaren is unworthy of such a team," said two-time F1 champion and ex-McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen to Blick, as quoted by Grand Prix 247.


Speculation is now coming out that it may be Alonso's sponsors who are the hold-up. Movistar and another, speculated to be from the United Arab Emirates, are also expected to be announced at tomorrow's press event.

Others are still doubting that Alonso is as solid with McLaren as originally thought. Rumors of a unilateral exit clause built into Alonso's contract are swirling around world of F1. The inclusion of such a clause points to the notion that Alonso isn't as confident in the McLaren's ability to perform as sources initially indicated.


Or perhaps European Formula One sources are taking whatever rumors they can from whoever they can again because it's fun and provocative. (Remember the docs who said Bianchi was going to recover in Switzerland?) The exit clause rumor comes to us via La Gazetto della Sport. Auto Motor und Sport takes it one further and claims that Alonso could be so disappointed in the Abu Dhabi test that he plans to sit 2015 out again rather than get stuck in another meh car. You never really know with these types of things, particularly in the cases where sources aren't named.


We'll know tomorrow, regardless. Well, we hope. Most teams announced this kind of thing by the end of last month, guys. You're late.



As much as I'd like to hear a driver line up I have my doubts it will be the focus of Thursday's conference. I'm thinking it could be a sponsorship announcement, McLaren have been without a title sponsor for quite some time, and they are in dire need of sponsorship money in this new era of F1. They've had trouble securing a sponsor, and their current performance fails to help that cause, as well as the possibility of FOM enforcing the anti-alcohol/tobacco advertising. If FOM decides to enforce this rule, McLaren would part ways with Johnnie Walker, this of would be a serious sponsorship loss.

With all that said I'd really hope it's a driver announcement, J.Button and K.Mag don't deserve to have this ambiguous future especially around the holidays. McLaren have quite the task ahead of them: find solid sponsorship, select 2 drivers, and develop a new chassis with a new Honda power unit (that's before even thinking about podiums/wins).

If I were Ron Dennis, I'd sign Alonso and Button, with Magnussen as a test driver. Alonso and Button are both proven drivers that will finish in the points and can also provide valuable insight and chassis design/set-up/refinement. Mclaren could keep this set up for two years to reestablish itself as a top 3 team and this would bring the sponsors. After 2 to 3 years and Button or Alonso are ready to retire you can move Magnussen up. Yes, it's somewhat of a disservice to leave him without a full-time race seat, but if Mclaren were to release Magnussen completely it's unlikely he could find a F1 seat in the future (we are likely to see less than 20 cars on the grid next year).