Sahara Force India may enjoy a technical partnership with McLaren but that’s about the extent to which they are willing to get in bed with the Woking-based team. According to AUTOSPORT, Force India boss Bob Fernley has denied that McLaren Junior driving talent, Kevin Magnussen, is in contention for a seat in 2014.
McLaren’s young driver is about to seal his championship bid in the Formula Renault 3.5 series and the team are keen to see him in Formula 1 next year in a smaller team to develop. Fernley has other things in mind for Force India:
“You can’t ignore a driver that has done such a fantastic job in World Series, but Kevin is not our driver,” Fernley told AUTOSPORT.
“We have a wonderful relationship with McLaren, but for anybody coming into the team we want to look at the long-term, not training someone for someone else.”
Sahara Force India have struggled in 2013 with the tire compounds, construction and degradation but Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta have still managed to score points and keep them within contention of fifth place in the Constructor’s Championship as they are just shy of 20 points behind McLaren.
Force India have not confirmed Sutil or Di Resta for 2014 but Fernley reckons the future of the team needs to be aligned with finding hot prospects that can deliver the performances they need to score points and in the process, make themselves attractive to bigger teams. If the drivers do well, their contracts become lucrative assets in which Force India can then sell.
Magnussen was to be the driver for Force India in last July’s Young Driver test but when the tire blowouts of Silverstone prompted immediate action, the FIA allowed primary drivers to take part in the testing session.
The name Magnussen may sound familiar because Kevin’s father, Jan, was a Formula 1 driver for McLaren and Stewart. Jan has had a successful career in the Chevrolet Corvette GT1 class at Le Mans and even tried NASCAR.
Force India is seeking progress and a short-term driver education program is not what they have in mind. Getting Magnussen into a car at Force India doesn’t seem on the cards but perhaps McLaren might find a willing partner in Marussia or Caterham if the price is right.