McLaren driver decision unfinnished

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Martin Whitmarsh remains coy on McLaren’s driver lineup for 2010. Lewis Hamilton is confirmed, and it seems increasingly likely that a Finnish driver will partner him. But who?

Whitmarsh’s latest comments, reported here on Crash.net do relatively little to clear up the mystery, despite his endorsement of Kimi Raikkonen.

Kimi is a fantastic driver, and I like him and know him well – he was with the team for five years. He is quick, he is committed and I think he probably would be very committed to beating Ferrari in the future, knowing him. All these are attractive things with Kimi.

He is not political, he is absolutely straightforward – what you see is what you get with Kimi – and on top of that everyone knows that he is a winning driver. I think he has been underestimated technically. He is a very good racing driver and I think he would fit well in this team, if we choose to go down that route.

Kimi is an attractive option and would be a good fit. Seems clear enough, right? Well, not really if you consider Whitmarsh’s other comments…

The answer is simple, we have not determined a driver line-up yet and we haven’t set a timetable for doing so. We now have clarity about Ferrari’s drivers, and we know now that other drivers are available.

I think we are very fortunate at the moment as there is tremendous harmony in the team. Both of our current drivers aren’t political; they are very open to one another and they genuinely like each other. Team-mates don’t necessarily like each other – that is not a pre-requisite. They have to be honest and open and not political; that is part of the ingredients needed this year.

We started in a very poor state with a slow car, and then we had other controversies at the beginning of the year. I have to say I am personally proud of how the team pulled together during the year. I credit that to the genuine harmony among people who enjoy working together – and for the future, whatever driver line-up we have, you want to have that.

We try and give Heikki every opportunity to do a good job; Heikki is a very committed driver and a lovely chap, and we would like him to get some good results over the rest of the season. We are focusing on that and are not announcing a driver line-up for the moment. We will continue to review the situation and, once we know, we will announce it.

So there you have it. Clear as mud. However, Norbert Haug has suggested that McLaren Mercedes are in a position to manage two superstar drivers – and obviously recent history does nothing to put that statement in doubt!

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