Things are a tad busy right now at McLaren and while the Woking-based company might usually be a beehive of activity, this week could be unusually frantic as the team tries to finalize its 2015 driver lineup.
News repots are now firmly placing Fernando Alonso at McLaren for 2015 which leaves one nagging question—who will his teammate be for next year? The deal for Alonso is rumored to be the largest deal in F1 history so money could be tight after signing him at McLaren.
If the team is looking for a low-cost solution with future potential, then current driver Kevin Magnussen is your man. If they need a veteran to team with Alonso in order to rapidly fuse the Honda power unit with the McLaren chassis and speed development as well as maximize points, then current driver Jenson Button is your man.
Button leads Magnussen in the 2014 points tally by nearly double and his recent form shows the 2009 champion still has what it takes to compete at the top level. An early retirement from F1 at this point would be a real disappointment and reminiscent of Michael Schumacher’s forced retirement.
Many cases could be made for Kevin Magnussen who has done a fine job in his rookie season. The young driver has scored 55 points in a difficult car and managed to show spark, speed and race craft that bodes well as a future F1 driver.
As a young driver development program product, Magnussen has been a success but his veteran teammate has overshadowed him in the points hauling category and in F1, points equal millions of dollars. Perhaps finding a seat for Kevin to continue to develop might be an option but in Magnussen’s mind, that would be a step backwards.
Alonso will score points and the question is, can Magnussen slide into a reserve role for McLaren or is Button to expensive to retain even though he is a points harvester? You can’t discount politics and sponsor dollars as an element in the equation either.
There is a host of technical issue to overcome for 2015 and the team are already planning on running a radical “B” spec car in Abu Dhabi in preparation for the 2015 season which will allow Honda to shake down some of the systems in the final race of 2014.
The B-car will see track time on Friday’s practice session and will feature new aerodynamic elements which Sky Sports F1 reports has already shown to be better than this year’s car.