McLaren still equivocating on 2015 driver lineup

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If you were a vintner, perhaps time is an element that brings a certain harmony to your product like an Arc Reactor to Ironman or Cheesy Dibbles to Skipper. When you’re a McLaren fan, it may be something that the team is running short of with regards to winning again as well as making a decision on their 2015 driver lineup.

Now my first reaction was that there may be some real challenges negotiating the Fernando Alonso contract and one has to assume that it is a very pricey acquisition indeed. One doesn’t simply hire a double-champion who is arguably the best driver on the grid for a pack of Reds and a Hershey bar.

As time trudged on and it was seemingly a done deal, fans were waiting the announcement on which driver would be teaming with Alonso for 2015. The current lineup of Jenson button (veteran) and Kevin Magnussen (rookie) are the two names being tossed about in a demented game of musical chairs. To date, no announcement has been made.

If you look at the British press, the overwhelming sentiment is that Kevin is the future but Button is the emotional favorite and deserving of the ride—did I mention that Jenson is British?

Still, while social media has become a landslide of public opinion supporting Button, the team could be in a bit of a dilemma at the moment. Brand equity versus affordability versus future driver development are all at play here but Is suspected, after a time, that there could be a bit of a power struggle at the board level that is delaying the decision as well. I know Ron is back but there are things afoot at the board level that aren’t as cut and dry as it seems in my opinion.

In the old days, when CEO Ron Dennis was truly in a position of unfettered control, this decision would have been made by now. Ron may dither but tis seems out of character. I’ll freely admit that I would love to see Button and Alonso teamed up to take a fight to Mercedes in Honda-powered cars but if I’m honest and I were running the team, the Magnussen choice has to be less expensive and a real potential for your future—after all, he’s been a product of your young driver development program for some time and it is unclear on just what his contract says about the 2015 season to consider.

Team race director, Eric Boullier, was recently asked by sky Sports F1’s David Croft about the situation and he said:

“There is no problem, it is just taking the time to consider what is good for McLaren,” Boullier told Sky Sports F1.

“Unfortunately I cannot give you any tips as I do not know. No decision has been taken yet.

“I know there are a lot of fans, Jenson’s fans, Kevin’s fans, other drivers’ fans and hopefully some McLaren fans, but it is just about taking the right decision for the future, not only for next year but also for the next years.”

If you read into that statement that they are leaning toward Magnussen, I can’t blame them but it does betray what I would really like to see is Jenson Button still racing in Formula 1. As an F1 champion, he has a lot of fuel left in the tank and certainly was no wallflower when teamed with Hamilton. I think he can handle Alonso and be a good teammate to help the Honda-McLaren marriage in 2015 too.

We’ll see what happens but if Button isn’t there in 2015, will McLaren fans be there?

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1

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