McLaren says maintaining driver continuity into the start of its new Honda era in 2015 is not a priority, as race drivers Jenson Button and Sergio Perez remain unsigned for next season.
It is believed that one sticking point with Button is whether he should simply complete the final year of his current contract next year — potentially making him a free agent for 2015 — or commit to a new longer deal that bridges the transition into the new Honda factory deal. But, asked if driver stability over the 2014/15 crossover was important to McLaren, the team’s managing director Jonathan Neale said it would have no fears about changing the lineup for the arrival of Honda.
“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 organization or in the driver lineup, in order to get the job done.
“We’re really excited about the return of Honda and are working really hard behind the scenes to make that successful. But we’re also looking forward to what we hope will be a very competitive powertrain from Mercedes in 2014.”
Neale said it was not yet possible to be more specific about how the McLaren driver situation would be resolved. Both drivers and the team have strongly intimated that there will be no changes for 2014.
“We don’t comment on the rumor mill or drivers until such time as we’re ready to make an announcement,” said Neale. “I hope that it won’t be too much further now before we’re able to clarify what’s going on.
“This is that time of year when everybody is talking to everybody, whether it’s technical staff moving around or drivers.”