Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley insists the Formula 1 squad is not interested in taking on McLaren junior Kevin Magnussen on a short-term basis.
McLaren is keen to place the Dane, who is on the brink of winning the Formula Renault 3.5 title, in F1 next season and Force India is seen as a potential destination. But Fernley, who will evaluate the potential contenders for a 2014 seat before team principal Vijay Mallya and the board make the decision, does not believe Force India should be developing drivers for other teams.
“You can’t ignore a driver that has done such a fantastic job in World Series, but Kevin is not our driver,” Fernley said. “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.”
Magnussen was originally slated to drive for Force India in July’s young driver test at Silverstone. The team decided against this after the regulations were loosened allowing race drivers to participate to evaluate the new Pirelli rubber.
While Fernley regards Magnussen as a hot prospect for the future, he does not see the McLaren junior as the right man for Force India. The team’s model in recent years has been to invest in promising talents such as Paul di Resta, Jules Bianchi and Nico Hulkenberg with the intention of either developing drivers capable of getting strong results for the team, or selling them on to bigger squads.
“In terms of the fact that Kevin is a McLaren driver and potentially a very good one, there is no question of it [his promise],” said Fernley. “But we have got to look at where we are investing our time and efforts because next year is an important one for us. He is an exciting prospect, but not necessarily for us.”
Force India has yet to officially confirm either of its drivers for 2014, with the decision-making process set to get underway at board level around the time of the Indian Grand Prix at the end of October.