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Dennis considering driver options

NEWS STORY
28/08/2014

Whilst "happy" with his current line-up, McLaren boss Ron Dennis admits that he is keeping his options open in terms of 2015 and beyond.

Days after his team overhauled Force India to take fifth in the championship, thereby equalling its final position in the 2013 standings, its worst season since 2004 and the first since 1980 in which it failed to score a single podium finish, Dennis has told the official F1 website that neither Jenson Button nor Kevin Magnussen can take a 2015 seat for granted.

"Jenson and Kevin represent an excellent blend of capable experience and youthful promise, and we're very happy with both of them," he said. "The fact that we're keeping an eye on what a few other drivers are up to in no way contradicts that, because, as I say, if opportunities arise, we'll appraise them, we always have and we always will."

It is believed that the main focus of McLaren's attention is Fernando Alonso, despite the troubled relationship the Spaniard enjoyed with the Woking outfit in 2007, the season which saw the team excluded from the season results in the wake of Spygate, the saga that was to cost the team $100m and force Dennis out of the sport for several years.

Whilst Alonso has a contract with Ferrari for 2015, and 2016, it is believed there are performance clauses in place, and with the Spaniard facing the prospect of failing to score a win, far less challenge for the title, it is believed he could be up for grabs.

This, of course, coincides with Honda's return to F1, and it is widely known that the Japanese manufacturer would like to resume its relationship with McLaren, with which it previously enjoyed so much success, with a star driver.

Despite, Button's long and (eventually) successful relationship with Honda, it is widely thought the Japanese manufacturer might shun the Briton in favour of Alonso, though earlier this week veteran team owner Gian Carlo Minardi threw Sebastian Vettel's name in to the mix.

Asked whether he might "move mountains" to get the right driver, be it Alonso or Vettel, Dennis admitted: "That depends on whether you respect drivers' contracts or not, and I do.

"I'm satisfied with both Jenson and Kevin," he added. "They're both capable of winning Grands Prix in a competitive car - Jenson has proved that 15 times in his long Formula One career, and Kevin has already demonstrated abundant pace in his so-far-short Formula One career - but clearly we're not giving them a competitive car at the moment.
Nonetheless, despite that, I want them to give their best - and, at the same time, be responsible enough to appreciate that McLaren will always make efforts to hire the best drivers available. If such opportunities arise, we'll appraise them; we always have and we always will. All great Formula One teams are the same in that regard. But we're not in a position to do that at the moment."

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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 01/09/2014 10:51

"Much as I admire & respect Ron Dennis, and his huge contribution to F1, I find these comments pretty baffling. I feel he would be wiser keeping his counsel until McLaren manages to produce a competitive chassis.

Although Ferrari seem equally as bogged-down as McLaren with a dud car, I see no reason (except vast amounts of money) why Alonso should even contemplate moving from one sinking ship to another. Similarly Vettel (if he gets to choose) won't want to swap the best chassis and improving Renault power for McLaren's chassis & untried Honda power.
That's not to say that an "established" driver currently in a poor car might not want to take a punt & get in on the ground floor of a potentially dominant combination, but objectively its a long-shot.
Despite Mercedes' current domination (which is looking increasingly short-lived), and given his probable failure to win the WDC there, Hamilton is my outside bet for a return to Woking......"

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2. Posted by ESTMPRFT, 28/08/2014 18:00

"Perhaps Ron should mimic Merc management and have social media select his drivers as a sign of the times. He can then avoid responsibility if the fallout is negative or if there is a lack of success. If 2015 is a great season for McLaren he can take credit for taking wise council!"

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