McLaren wants '14 rides for youngsters

McLaren wants '14 rides for youngsters

Formula 1

McLaren wants '14 rides for youngsters


McLaren has not yet given up hope of getting its youngsters Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne in to Formula 1 next year.

The two men are part of McLaren’s young driver program, and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has revealed that efforts have been made with Force India, Lotus and Marussia to find a seat. Those talks have not yet been successful but Whitmarsh says that his team will continue to push to secure an opening.

“We have tried at Force India, Lotus, and Marussia,” explained Whitmarsh. “We have to get them into F1. I think they are both really, really good guys and both will get into F1.

“We have a duty of care to get them there. They are pretty special.”

Force India’s 2014 driver plans are up in the air at the moment, and Whitmarsh has suggested that a driver deal could be a factor in its discussions to extend a technical partnership it has had with the team.

“They want to extend, but we haven’t agreed to that,” he said. “But at the same time, I don’t want leverage. One way or another we will find a way.”

The other possibility could be for McLaren to risk promoting one of their drivers to its team next season, if it is not convinced by Sergio Perez. Whitmarsh thinks that the lack of pre-season testing currently available in F1, however, means it may be too tall a task.

“I think it is a risk for them and for us,” he said. “We did it with Lewis [Hamilton] but, when you look back on the amount of running we could give Lewis beforehand, it was easier.

“You never know, but at the moment we are trying hard elsewhere. We had agreed to put Kevin into the Force India seat for the young driver test, and I shook hands with Vijay [Mallya] on it. But for some reason or other that didn’t seem to bind him.

“Kevin was only put in at the last minute for us at Silverstone. He has had two runs in an F1 car [and] in Abu Dhabi, on his third flying lap, he did a time that was good enough for sixth on the grid, which is pretty impressive.”