With Silly Season in full effect, it makes you wonder just what McLaren are doing for the 2014 season. Sure, they will have Mercedes power with Honda not scheduled to come until 2015 but who will be driving the cars and what will the title sponsor be?
McLaren are notoriously curt with their public commentary on drivers and while Jenson Button and Sergio Perez have not been announced as the lineup for 2014 yet, Felipe Massa fanned the flames this week when he suggested that he was speaking with the team. What?
McLaren don’t need Massa, they have Button and Perez and while most believe that lineup won’t change next year, I do appreciate how the team have bellied up to the PR bar and lobbed a few juicy “we could do something radical like Ferrari” statements our way. Managing Director Jonathan Neale explained the teams approach. AUTOSPORT has the story:
“What you really want is talent and high performance,” said Neale.
“We’ve shown in the past that we weren’t afraid to make the changes that we felt that we needed to in the team, whether it was inside the organisation or in the driver line-up, in order to get the job done.”
So don’t count out some fancy driver move from the dangerous folks at McLaren. They could do something too you know! Like sign Massa or Hulkenberg or…just renew their current contracts and get on with it.
The issue at McLaren isn’t finding a high-performance driver right now. It’s finding a high-performance car and if anyone at the team leaves, it’s most likely due to money, intra-team cohesion or something more untoward. The car has been a disappointment this year and it’s hardly the driver’s fault.
Having said all of that, there is one thing to keep in mind with regards to McLaren’s driver lineup for next year. The length of a contract extension could be an issue in current negitations, as AUTOSPORT points out, and should the team want a simple 1-year extension while drivers are looking for more, it may be a sticking point.
Another consideration is the notion that McLaren could be looking for a driver they feel will be a better long-term option but perhaps that driver is available now and may not be in the future. Massa, Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta etc.
Either way, McLaren are, at the very least, keeping their name in the Silly Season mix and promoting the brand and that’s what they pay Matt “the bish” Bishop for.