Will the Prancing Horse rise?
Monza 2014
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McLaren to wait a little longer before announcing 2014 line up
McLaren Mercedes
Button Perez
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Sep 2013   |  9:22 pm GMT  |  202 comments

McLaren say they are not ready to announce their driver line up for 2014, although it “won’t be too much” longer until a decision is revealed.

Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes have all named their drivers for next season, but neither Jenson Button or Sergio Perez has been confirmed at McLaren.

Button, who has not yet taken up his contract option for next year, told Sky Sports News earlier today that he was relaxed about the contract situation and that he expects to stay at the team next season.

McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale said: “I can’t tell you when but it won’t be too much further from now that I hope we will be able to clarify what’s going on. When we do you [the media] will be the first to know that.

“At the moment we are focused on our preparations for this weekend [in Singapore], making sure that we get every bit of learning out of this season and prepare well for next year. That is our top priority at the moment, not to say our drivers are our second priority, but when we have something to say we will let you know.”

When asked if the delay had been a result of McLaren talking to other drivers about a seat for next year, Neale said: “This is that time of year when everybody is talking to everybody, whether it’s the technical staff moving around or whether it’s drivers. So it would be wrong for me to speculate but we will get to it [their 2014 plans] pretty soon.”

McLaren will swap Mercedes for Honda power in 2015, but Neale said driver continuity during the switch is not a necessity – the decision on driver line-up will be based on the choosing the best drivers available at the time.

“What you really want is talent and high performance,” he said. “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.

“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.”

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202 Comments
  1. Anil Parmar says:

    James, is this Mclaren just taking their time with driver negotiations or is there genuinely a chance they may replace of their current drivers with someone like Hulkenberg/Massa?

    Put me on the side that believes that they should have got the Hulk and not Perez!

    1. svencore says:

      Got the Hulk? Pfft, get di Resta in there.

      1. kiran says:

        Di Resta, much like Perez, does not deserve to be in a top team. He can keep his whining to himself. The fact that he’s got a Force India seat itself should be a relief to him, he doesent deserve to be driving anything more than a Caterham.

      2. Svencore says:

        Maybe in your mind, but im guessing youre a Vettel fan so we’ll discount your opinion.

        Pauls been solid, at times unspectacular, but he’s generally consistent in an underperforming car.

        Perez is a pay driver. Paul isnt. Comparison over.

        [Reply]

      3. Wayne says:

        Although Perez definitely should not have been snapped up in such a rash way last year. Poor McLaren, their slide continues doesn’t it? Terrible car, and the only ‘top’ team without a top driver for next year and possibly the next couple of years. How on earth did they get themselves in this position? McLaren are in serious danger of slipping into the leading midfieldposition rather than fighting at the front on a consistent basis.

      4. Jacques Roulett says:

        I agree about di Resta not deserving a top drive. He has not done anything to show he deserves to be in a top ranked team. Sutil and Hulkenberg have been ahead of him in pace and consistency and if anything, di Resta should be watching over his shoulder because Bianchi could get his seat at Force India, and Paul may end up back in DTM, hauling AMG’s around the track. On another note, Perez has not been setting the world on fire against Button, but I would still give him another year – he definately seems to have more talent, definately more than Di Resta. So, the verdict is still out on Perez.

      5. JD says:

        Absolutely spot on! DIR is chronically over rated, has done nothing to merit a top drive. I don’t feel PER is good enough for a top drive currently, but at least he has shown flashes of ability on occasion, unlike DIR who at best matches his team mates and think he deserves better.

      6. forestial says:

        +1

        I’m surprised di Resta gets so few mentions in all the driver discussions. He has done well in an underperforming car, and he obviously would like very much to be out of Force India.

      7. Edward Harwood says:

        I don’t feel diResta has done anything to merit a “top” drive

        He does seem to whine a fair bit it’s true to say. That said, it seemed rather a strange decision for Mclaren to sign up Perez, maybe this is linked to a major sponsorship announcement at the end of this year? And Jenson seems a bit too comfortable where he is , he can’t live on past reputations forever can he?

        I feel Mclaren should change their driver lineup next year, They should get Hulkenberg, and have Felipe Massa alongside him.

      8. Brad says:

        Whatever we think about his talent, I think Paul lets himself down in the likeability and marketability department.

        Hate to suggest he acts fake, but a smile a bit more often, and some speech therapy to change that whining monotone voice that makes it sound like he is whinging even when happy might help his chances.

        Sad as that is to say about a driver in the pinnacle of motor racing…

      9. j says:

        I can’t agree on Di Resta. He’s done ok but similar to Button the way he complains is the last straw for me.

      10. Optimaximal says:

        I can’t agree on Di Resta. He’s done ok but similar to Button the way his complaints are always intentionally picked up by FOM to generate controversy, but he’s too polite to swear or speak in Italian for me to care.

      11. Optimaximal says:

        Ok, that went wrong…

      12. Anil Parmar says:

        When he finally beats his team mate, then he can deserve a top drive. Too inconsistent in my book.

    2. Javier Marcelo Correa says:

      There is someone that steal can change his next year destiny and would be a bust for MACA-HONDA

    3. Mike Davies says:

      Massa? The guy is past it now. Time for him to leave F1 now.

      1. Alek Tronick says:

        +1 They don’t need two has-beens.
        Maybe the pending Honda deal will mean we will see Kobyashi back in F1 and in a Macca.

      2. pepe_le_pew says:

        +1 for Kobayashi

      3. Simmo says:

        Kobayashi and Perez! Where have I heard that one before… ;)

    4. Sanjog says:

      Interesting.Maybe they are eying Hulk. I can’t imagine Button not taking up the contract extension. Massa will slot into Kimi’s seat, does that mean Perez back to Sauber with Telmex sponsorship?

    5. Quade says:

      Neither Perez nor Jenson deserve a McLaren seat.

      For Jenson especially, this saga can’t be much good. How many drivers can be left floating on the market without a contract, yet no one has even asked? Its been all about Kimi, Hulk and Di Resta. McLaren knows this, otherwise they would have signed his contract long since, perhaps, they are driving for a huge pay cut. This must be quite painful to Jenson and is not the way to treat a driver.

      1. Tyemz says:

        Read the article again. It says “Button who has yet to take his contract option…” meaning the decision to sign lies with Button, no? How do you equate that to McLaren delaying his contract? And I thought only Vet fans have the tendency to twist facts to favour their opinion!

      2. Quade says:

        Sorry, but Neale never gave the impression that McLaren were in a hurry to sign either driver. Button has also been saying for a month plus that he wasn’t exactly comfortable with the contract situation, at a point, he even openly yearned for the Ferrari seat.

        Its McLaren that’s not interested in signing, not Button. But lets for the sake of argument agree that its Button delaying the signing – such an action would signal his availability in loud decibels. Yet, not a single team has come knocking. Obviously there’d be a free-for-all, mad as hell bidding war if any of the top drivers (Kimi, Lewis, Hulk, Vettel, Di Resta) left a blank space where their signatures should be.

        The signs are obvious that he is either going to take a hefty pay cut or McLaren is considering other options (maybe Magnussen).

        Both McLaren drivers are underperforming and need to be replaced like yesterday.

      3. newton says:

        “Both McLaren drivers are underperforming and need to be replaced like yesterday.”

        Underperforming relative to what? Do you have some magical vision of how they *should* be performing, given the car they have?

      4. prasanna madhavan says:

        Button had no worth. never been a world championship material. it was pure luck he won, since Brawn made a out of space car. do you guys really think rubens would be second in championship?. he could not fight when he was in a ferrai, when schumi use to spank the field, left right and center. rubens was nowhere near the top even MSC use to retire in the race. on the other hand MASSA took the fight right down to the wire. I say sack Button and give it to MASSA. At least he does not complain

      5. Rob says:

        Button has had great seasons, in 2011 he finished 2nd in the championship while lewis ended up 5th. No doubt lewis is faster than Button, but Button is more consistent. I beleive that for next season they will need experienced drivers to develop the car faster. I would suggest a Button/Massa team could really help them.

      6. Adrian J says:

        You conveniently forget to mention that Button was very close to Hamilton in the 3 years they were together. Or that in 2004 and 2011 he came 2nd in the WDC…

        Button’s biggest problem, as I see it, is that he needs the car to be just right in order to show his true speed.

      7. Scott D says:

        Absolute rubbish. I dont care how good the car is, no-one wins a world championship through luck. To continue your line of reasoning, maybe Schumacher lucked into most of his world championships because of superior machinery? You could probably level that comment at dozens of world champions over the years who just happened to have the best machinery. Jenson earned the 2009 title as evidenced by the fact that several other teams had clearly caught up with Brawn during the latter half of the season due to their greater development resources. He got the job done, and deservedly so.

      8. newton says:

        don’t forget, Rubens beat Schumacher on quite a few occasions, despite being hobbled by the team setup around Schumacher.

      9. Richard D says:

        “Neither Perez nor Jenson deserve a McLaren seat”

        I think it is the other way round; Jenson doesn’t deserve the dog of a car that McLaren have given him this year!

      10. Colombia Concalvez says:

        The car is build around his taste/input, so Button is partly to blame for it.

      11. Richard M says:

        Agreed… suggest Neale and certain others consider their own damn contracts!

  2. Proesterchen says:

    So I guess there’s no Mexican sponsorship deal on the books yet?

    I feel one would like Button to continue in the car for next year, but there’s no point racing Perez if he (again, like with Sauber last year), doesn’t bring the big bucks, and even Button could conceivably be out if Massa was on the market for considerably less.

    Massa | Di Resta/Hülkenberg/pay driver would probably cut the budget by >$10 million, and might actually open a couple of doors in Brazil.

    1. Equin0x says:

      None of the drivers you mentioned is better than Button, maybe Hulkenbeg is faster but unproven so it wouldn’t be wise to get rid of Jenson, there’s another title challenge within him.

      1. Proesterchen says:

        One could argue that Massa is just as good as Button ’13, both had better years, but both have the quality and experience to fill the leading role in a year full of changes.

        My main point though was that you can probably save upwards of 50% by moving from one to the other, which must seem enticing to McLaren in its current situation.

        Question is, do you throw your British fans a bone and try to get di Resta in the second car, or do you go for speed and potential by trying to get Hülkenberg for at least the next 3 years.

        Of course, Mr Slim probably still has a chance to save Perez, but …

      2. pepe_le_pew says:

        A team like McLaren arent in the same kind of stew as Williams or Sauber at the moment, saving 50% of Button’s salary won’t really make a difference on their plans to bounce back, Williams were in a similar position to Macca just after BMW pulled out prematurely (My Humble opinion)… It’ll be interesting to see which way this story unfolds, Uncle Ron’s plans were put into motion a while ago, now is the time to see whether it was all for the best. The next team that allows BMW through the door needs to get a divorce lawyer to draw-up a watertight prenup (Williams & Sauber didn’t).

      3. Aaron says:

        How you can justify Massa as good as Button is lost on me? Button had beaten every Team Mate he has had, he may not drive with the exuberance of Lewis, but he is always there! However I do agree Perez needs to go, I never understood why they hired him in the first place? I think they should either give Hulk or take a risk in Bianchi as he seems like someone who could really surprise

      4. Carl Craven says:

        I’d be surprised if Mclaren perse pay for Button’s salary, I imagine a large proportion would come from sponsorship deals.

        I don’t know that aspect of the sport that well, but I imagine it’s a big part of it.

      5. Gudien says:

        Am I wrong in any of these statements?

        1. Jenson has struggled vs. Sergio this season, and at times been surpassed by the newcomer.
        2. Jenson, with his vast experience, has failed to improve the competitiveness of the car.
        3. Jenson will not become a quicker driver.
        4. Jenson has hinted at a possible move to Ferrari or Red Bull showing dis-loyalty.
        5. Jenson takes for granted the McLaren team’s need for his services suggesting his contract is a certainty.

      6. Jim says:

        1. Button has scored 48 points to Perez’ 18. Perez has been quicker sometimes, but not consistently. Button, contrary to his reputation, seems able to get more out of a poor car.

        2. Button is a driver, not an engineer. There’s only so much any driver can do.

        3. I agree.

        4. More like a negotiating tactic I’d say. They all do it if they can.

        5. Very speculative. Is he taking it for granted, or does he know but is not allowed to say anything before the team makes its announcement?

      7. iceman says:

        1. 48-18
        2. It’s down to the engineers to improve the competitiveness of the car. The drivers don’t design the parts or analyse the data. The potential for drivers to “develop the car” is massively exaggerated in the popular imagination. It’s not the 1960s any more.
        3. Probably true.
        4. Is considering opportunities with other teams disloyalty, or what every driver does all the time?
        5. Who would McLaren replace him with? Now that Kimi has signed with Ferrari, there’s no-one available who would be better. And in any case, based on ability Perez would be first in line for the boot. The only way Button’s seat would be at risk is if McLaren is so hard-up that they need to take another pay driver.

      8. Carl Craven says:

        1. Jenson has more than double the points and has rarely been beaten over a weekend let alone a race. Perez is fast, but he’s only faster when he has fresher tyres during a race and has proven accident prone. Button’s forte is his consistency. Button is not the best, but even so he’s an incredible formula one pilot.

        4. Button has not hinted at any of those connections, only commented on them, unless he’s secretly spiking the media to make the speculations.

        5. It’s Jenson’s options, not Mclarens’

      9. Steve Zodiac says:

        Perez was meant to as quick or quicker than Jenson but maybe a bit erratic to begin with(ala Gross jean). Why would Mclaren take a driver they expected to be slower (Money?). Perez hasn’t delivered. No idea which way they should go now. Jenson may not be the quickest driver out there but he’s quick enough and almost always finishes, this plus his consistency makes him a good driver, however it doesn’t say much for Perez’s speed

      10. adrianna says:

        you forgot to mention that he can’t tell the difference between the best McLaren ever ( said by him ) and the piece of crap that they are driving!

    2. Grant H says:

      The situation at mclaren is interesting, let me paint a picture….

      Its clear they are to a large extent funded from marketing rather than merc / ferrari who must draw more funds from the car manufacturer background and then we have red bull who have the backing of a global energy drink empire,

      I think its a fair comment to say of the big four teams, they are the team who rely most on marketing sales, the mclaren drivers always seem to do the most promo work

      This year voda are leaving the sport, loss of a title sponsor must leave a large hole in the budget

      5th in the constructors almost certain, again further loss of prize money

      The lower points tally and reduced tv air time will do no good to help bring in new sponsors

      Additional 2014 costs due to rule changes puts on more pressure

      There has been rumours of a mexican deal, not yet confirmed.

      Perhaps Perez’s seat is under pressure if this deal does not come off

      Also how many millions does button get paid, is there a cheaper option which would give mclaren similar performance e.g hulk would be a reasonable shout

      Trouble inside maybe?

      1. Proesterchen says:

        Agreed, and about the famous rumours about Mexican deals, somebody should ask Monisha Kaltenborn about those one of these days. ;-)

      2. Javier Marcelo says:

        I agree with all your comments eccept your conclusion. I agree, but all that facts proves that MACA needs a huge change, not cosmetic decisions. Something that by itself would impact in solving all team problems in a sudden.

        And I repeat (as I said in a reply of the 1th post here) there is someone that -according to his contract- can change in 2014 destiny in the NeXT days of september…

        Someone whos main dreams as a child were be a WDC in F1 and do it with Maclaren as his only hero -Senna-. And his dreams has already become reality only partly.

        Time will tell…

        But bussiness logic (big money) and last main F1 News are giving lots of clues…

      3. pepe_le_pew says:

        are you talking about Alonso

      4. Bill says:

        Macca does have a new sponsor, but it will not be introduced/revealed until December. Not sure if read that here or Sky or BBC, but recently saw that THAT deal is done, but won’t be presented until this horrid season is over. Now, MY speculation would be it is Carlos Slim’s version of Vodafone. :)

      5. Karim says:

        I think there are some serious deep underlying issues at McLaren and Grant you summed it up very well.

        On top of what you said, McLaren have to account a huge increase in their budget for next season, it won’t stretch them by any means but may leave them a little more vulnerable in the long term. Redbull have already prepared themselves 9 months ahead of time for the opening race in 2014 and they will be awarded a constructors championship bonus of 100 million pound for this year on top of that. McLaren’s concern will be that Redbull, the Mercs and Ferrari will be backed up by their respective drinks and carmaker empires, a luxury McLaren will not have and they will make less in sponsorship revenue as well- meaning how will they be able to compete? There is a danger it will end in a vicious circle- the longer they won’t win any races, the harder it will be for them to dig themselves out of the hole.

        It is looking a little shaky for them, and i am afraid- in this sport where the development race has accelerated so tremendously over the years- money talks! McLaren do not have this corporate backing and may end up like Williams, that are a pure racing team, but cannot compete financially with the big boys. Yes, they have the backing of the McLaren Group but its not even close to the size of Fiat or Daimler Chrysler.

        Martin Whitmarsh made a huge mistake in making so many changes on the car for this season, and should have played it safe- this has cost them dear, because I am sure Jenson and Perez would be competing for podiums and occasional wins, had they stuck to the successful formula of last year.

      6. Joel says:

        Also, don’t forget that a promotional event with Jenson & Perez is different than a promotional event with Lewis & Jenson. Or, for that matter any top driver.
        Perez is no promotional material. Macca needs a driver who is always in the news, like Lewis/Alo/Vettel or someone like Kimi who has a big global fan base. Jenson/Webber are also good, but Perez, DiResta, hulk are still unknown quantity and not polished enough to be an advertising magnet or an extensive promotional material.

  3. Jimbob says:

    I don’t think this looks great for either JB or Perez but I don’t think there is anyone better than JB available at the moment other than the Hulk. They should drop Perez for Hulkenberg immediately, they definitely took the wrong driver and Hulkenberg would be straight on JB if not beating him from the start.

    JB is good, definitely, but he’s not one of the elite like LH, FA, SV & KR… I put him alongside MW, NR, PDR, and DR in terms of race pace so they need someone quicker in the team and I think the Hulk could fill that role perfectly.

    1. Jimbob says:

      So basically, what I’m trying to say is JB is the best number two driver in the field without doubt but they need a number one. Perez is consistently being beat by JB so…

      1. Torchwood Five says:

        “Perez is consistently being beat by JB so…”

        No, since the race when the two fought on the track, made a fair bit of contact, and Jensen ran Sergio off the track, if Perez is behind Button in the race, and catches up with him, the team orders him not to pass.

        That is not the same as consistently being beaten.

      2. Optimaximal says:

        Proof of that?

    2. Equin0x says:

      That’s funny, Jenson managed to beat Hamilton, where does that put Hamilton then? Constantly needing Rosberg’s bad luck and questionable team decisions to stay ahead of him, also Raikkonen was beaten quite often by Massa, put Massa in the Mclaren I doubt he’ll find it easy to beat Button, Hulkenberg is arguarbly quicker but unproven and Jenson is a world champion he deserves first crack with the Mclaren and Honda partnership.

      1. furstyferret says:

        Apart from one race, were have Mercedes favored ham, enough of rosbergs badluck, hams had a broken gearbox 3 punctures in 12 races thats not that great when you think about it, since rosbergs run of 3 races earlier in the season, ham has been the quickest most consistent merc driver, rosberg is a good driver, occasionally very quick, but be fair mate, your dislike of ham is getting really boring

      2. madmax says:

        First of all, Hamilton was clearly the much quicker driver between him and Button no matter how close the points were between him with unreliability especially in 2012 playing a big role .

        Rosberg however has not had one clean qualifying since before Canada where a car or team issue hasn’t effected him.

        I’m not saying he would have beaten Hamilton all those times but he has had a massive amount of drama compared to Hamilton. Lewis has had just one qualifying and one race significantly effected through no fault of his own.

      3. Richard says:

        Button did beat Hamilton one year out of three. The last year they were together Hamilton could have won the championship if McLaren had not messed up. Drivers are only quantifiable in a season as it’s about relative position not total points tally over three years. Button had a good year, and Hamilton had his worst year with various problems some personal.

      4. Jimbob says:

        Equin0x – This is rubbish. I’m a JB fan and followed his career from formula ford so I understand his qualities but he is nowhere near as quick as Lewis in quali or race trim and this is a fact. Lewis is the better driver if a little more inconsistent through their time together. Consistency can be learned though and I think he’s crossed that bridge.

        And Rosberg beating Hamilton? Don’t be daft, Hamilton turned up to a new team and yep, he was getting beat while he adjusted to the car (mainly brakes) and now he’s got Rosberg in both quali and race and that gap will only get bigger… I’d put serious money on it.

      5. Jimbob says:

        And just to be clear before anyone starts, when I say he was inconsistent I obviously don’t mean in terms of speed like Massa, I mean in terms of accidents but like I said – That bridge has been crossed.

      6. Tyemz says:

        Questionable team decisions? It would be interesting to know where you rank your favourite RBR?

      7. Deeno says:

        I agree with Richard & Ferret – HAM wiped the floor with Jensen.
        Even with all HAM’s (car) breakdowns and pit stop mishaps last year- BUT still could’nt beat his team mate(when all were equal).

        Button needed a personal breakdown from HAM to win him 2011.

      8. Joel says:

        Yep, your dislike of Lewis is very apparent now. Ham & Button can’t be spoken of in the same breath, period.

      9. Colombia Concalvez says:

        Button beated Hamilton with the favoring Button above Hamilton and what about Alonso ?, team took penalty for because Alonslow failed to qualify bettereyc, do i need to continue ?. Alonso is the overrated one here.

    3. I agree. I think their situation is this:
      No current star driver is available so they have to look to 2015 before they might attract a top seed unless something shakes out of the Alonso/Raikkonen/Ferrari situation – hence not wanting to commit themselves too early as they will take Alonso, and his Santander money, in a heartbeat over both Button and Perez.

      So they keep negotiations with Button going. Similarly, they keep Perez on the boil, along with his sponsors’ contributions so that this can continue in the event that Alonso stays at Ferrari.

      Meanwhile, in the background, the hunt for alternate major sponsors goes on in the hope they can do away with their reliance on Perez and his backers and draught in Hulkenberg – although he might already be committed to Williams but until a deal is inked with another team he HAS to be considered an option to replace Perez.

      However, they may just accept (having seen Perez at close quarters for a while now and understand the type of person/driver/competitive animal that he is) that their car hasn’t enabled either Button or Perez to perform to their abilities and stick with them. But the choice might not be entirely theirs. Perhaps Perez is courting Lotus (or even Sauber) on the basis that he doesn’t believe McLaren will be a front running team next year, or even the first year or two with Honda power! And he may be right.

      So many variables that unless you have your Red Bull or Mercedes contract locked down, any choice of team will be a bit more of a gamble than it has been over the past few years. Drivers want to position themselves in a team that will give them the tools and equipment to win. Teams want drivers with the hunger, ambition, ability (and years on their side) to win consistently. Teams need designers, engineers and mechanics who can deliver the goods. With so many changes going on all of this paints an increasingly uncertain picture of who is going to be in a position to challenge Red Bull and Mercedes. McLaren have been heading backwards over the past couple of years. Ferrari seem to be in self-destruct mode and their new engine development has begun to be called into question. Lotus seemingly don’t have the money to maintain their place at the front. So maybe a chance for Sauber, Force India and/or Torro Rosso to move up the pecking order? Who knows – and that is exactly the dilemna for the drivers without inked contracts right now.

    4. Ben says:

      While I agree they probably should have gone for Hulkenberg over Perez I don’t think they should replace him immediately as that would be another knee jerk reaction. It’s that sort of reaction that got them where they are. The only place Hulkenburg can go is Lotus and I think that their is a good chance that Lotus will not be able to afford next year/have lost all of their top Engineers so McLaren can wait a year, give Perez another chance and if they think it’s right go for Hulkenburg

  4. Sebee says:

    What’s the hold up?

    We need a decision Mr. Slim. Will you or won’t you replace Vodafone? We and Mr. Perez really need to know shortly.

    1. gollino says:

      Mr. Slim answer: “Well with the car performing as it is, you can keep the Vodafone stickers as long as you like”.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Er, this is the guy that basically sponsored Sauber – a confirmed midfield team.

        Yes it was only to assure Perez a seat in F1, but McLaren (arguably) has much more potential to return to the top quickly.

        I think the only question is whether or not Slim still has faith in Perez.

      2. Joel says:

        From my understanding, money still hasn’t started flowing from Mr.Slim to Macca. or has it?
        I thought Perez is getting paid about a million or so.
        If Macca retains Perez over Button and Mr.Slim’s money startes flowing into Macca, I would lost all respect for them as a team. I’m not a Button fan, but Perez is a joke in a McL.

      3. Kirk says:

        Yes he has, in Mexico both Gutierrez and Perez are highly rated, so if he can keep them in F1, no matter the results he will still have good publicity, he has something like Telmex Racing Team, I don’t know what is that exactly, but I saw a recent picture of these guys and other drivers from different categories with Telmex uniforms, just for advertising.

  5. Ant says:

    Chance for mclaren to bag Alonso and Hulkenberg to produce the best team on the grid… I fear however it will be another dreary year

    How much is Perez paying for that seat?

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Perez is dragging Jenson and the team down to his level, come on when Kobayashi was on form even he was too fast for Perez.

      1. KJ says:

        When Jenson went to McLaren, the general concensus of opinion at the time was that he needed time to settle down; to be acquainted with a new car and a new team. Therefore he was not expected to beat Lewis. Surely the same should apply to Perez.

    2. Joel says:

      I hear ya… I’m still waiting for Alonso’s twitter msg asking fans to wait for a major announcement. It can’t be that cycling team buy? could it?

  6. Curro says:

    Can they by any chance be talking to Alonso?

    1. Equin0x says:

      Alonso again working with Whitmarsh and Ron Dennis? Really?

      1. Curro says:

        Why not? As pointed out below, if Kimi can go back to Ferrari then Alonso can go back to McLaren. Dennis is not so visible today. I don’t think Whitmarsh has many issues with Fernando, indeed it seems to me a lot of people at McLaren were tired of Dennis’ fastidious way of management. I mean, the whole 2007 debacle was mostly his fault.

        The prospect of a Mercedes drivetrain for 2014 and a McLaren-Honda combo in 2015 must be very alluring for Alonso.

        If not now, why not next year if cohabitation with Kimi is not easy, or if Ferrari are way off the pace? There are clauses in his contract to that effect.

    2. forestial says:

      Surely FA burned his boats there in 2007? Ron Dennis may not be as visible but he is still around.

      Anyway for all Alonso’s unhappiness at Ferrari he is hardly going to make that move until/unless McLaren come up with competitive machinery.

    3. dimitris says:

      My guess is they are indeed talking to Alonso. If Kimi can go back to Ferrari, then Alonso can certainly go back to Maclaren.

      1. pepe_le_pew says:

        I can see how McLaren are in need of Alonso, but can you point out why Alonso would even take that call, i can’t seem to picture that for some reason.

        (Another topic thats plaguing my mind is the Lotus seat) As much as I really hope that the Hulk gets it, me thinks that the better long term prospect for the team is Massa, lets face it both Grosjean nd Hulk would be racing for Lotus until another vacancy further up the grid became available (A 2015 Ferrari seat opening up doesn sound like a crazy idea, and if not 2015 then 2016 Ferrari will have an opening for sure, How they fill it will be interesting, especially given the red teams recent buying practice of reaching into the Lotus jar). Massa is looking for a Forever team now, like Button found with McLaren, both entities need it each other and can be good to each other for a long time if they both deliver what the other expects… I sure hope the Hulk gets the Lotus seat but my Gut is telling me its gonna be a Massa deal, inwhich case where would the Hulk go, back to Force India, he’s kinda been in with the entire midfield. Can he stay at Sauber another year…

      2. dimitris says:

        Honda entering the scene in 2015 is a great incentive, especially if Ferrari fails to come up with a winning car next season.

        Ferrari is banking on Bianci to replace either Alonso or Kimi for the 2016 season, or sooner if Alonso decides to leave. He and Bottas are the best prospects of the current crop of young drivers. They do need, however, seasoning.

        I have a feeling that Massa will not be able to land a seat for 2014, unless he performs miracles in the last remaining seven races.
        Of course I would not bet money on it happening because this is F1 and many strange things have happened.

      3. Joel says:

        I think Macca should dump both current drivers and go with Alo & that highly rated rookie from the lower Renault series; Alonso may leave at the end of 2014, but Macca would have found another LH, if that happens. Who knows history might repeat itself and it would be wonderful time for fans.

        If Alo is not available or willing to jump ship, they should stick with Button & that rookie (who’s name I can’t seem to recall) :)

    4. Richard says:

      Unlikely and why would Alonso want to move to a team slipping down the order.

    5. John Gibson says:

      There have been rumours to that effect.

  7. Sebee says:

    Perhaps that finalized calendar with Mexico date is holding things up? After all, Mr. Slim doesn’t overlook details. He wouldn’t like to sign contract to sponsor McLaren and then there is no Mexico GP in 2014.

    Also James, we’re not far away from my little “5 different/new races each season wish” in 2014. Austria, Sochi, Mexico, NJ – not a bad year coming up. Ask Mr. Ecclestone nicely, and he grants your wishes! ;-)

  8. AMSG says:

    Surely they are to boring to make a change…It’s just the image you get from this team these days.. flat caps and slippers go well with them..

  9. Serrated_Edge says:

    Just shows how McLaren have lost their way at management level to leave a World Champion and one of the best drivers on in grid like Jenson hanging on.

    Having produced such a dog of a car for 2013 they should be grateful that JB has stayed loyal and not jumped ship to another team.

    1. MelB says:

      Agreed, but where would he go? Who would take him? Not many seats available on the same level or better than McLaren

    2. Rach says:

      If Jenson was that good he would have been snapped up like Kimi?

      Jenson knows the game and his history shows that he would happily jump if he had a better offer. I’m not criticising him, he has created a very good career for himself.

    3. I will says:

      Perhaps it is a matter of absence of any ship to jump in to rather than being loyal.

    4. Joshua says:

      Reading the article it states that jenson has not yet taken up his contract extension. Therefore they are not leaving him hanging onn, he has them waiting.

      I guess either jenson is waiting to see what else is available and is also trying to negotiate a longer contract to see out his career.

  10. Dougel says:

    Do McLaren need Perez anymore? He’s been a disappointment by and large and maybe McLaren don’t need his money now they have Honda on board. The Hulk and JB would be good line up.

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      HULK or MAGNUM for me.

      BUTTON should give up with grace, enough is enough.

      1. Robert says:

        yeah, winning the WDC in 2009, taking second in the WDC in 2011, a good haul of race wins and podiums in 2012…he has obviously lost it. Get real.

  11. Mike says:

    It would be good to see Hulkenberg in a top team, after all Perez has been mediocre. But what are the chances of Alonso returning??

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Button was mediocre and after Champion… 25% is the driver, only.

  12. Valentino from montreal says:

    Why do I have a feeling that McLaren-HONDA will have Alonso on board in 15 months time ?

    I wont be able to understand the reasoning behind a move like that !

    Why would they hire a ”has-been” with loads of excess baggage , and somebody who has’nt won a title in over 8 looooooong years ?

    The world of F1 is one WEIRD planet …

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      HAMILTON for McLaren-Honda in 2016.

      PEREZ Champion for McLaren-Honda in 2015.

      Sure, at those times, hopefully you won’t remember this – my comment…

      1. Deeno says:

        Tornillo – Wishfull thinking : The only word fatally wrong in your sentences is Mclaren.
        To win a Championship you need 4 ingredients :

        1) Good Car :
        2) Strong Driver :
        3) Good Mngmnt (Team):
        4) Lots of Luck :
        I am sorry – but Mclaren does/will not have any of those in the near future. Witmarsh and Jenson Button is the problem with Mclaren…..(Refer to Numbers 2 & 3 above.) There I said it.

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      Lol, are you seriously calling one of unquestionably the best 3 drivers on the grid a “has been”. That’s very funny, especially from someone that cheered on the real has been Schumacher vociferously for the previous 3 years!

  13. Cliff says:

    When you build a car as bad as the one currently languishing in the midfield McLaren should take a long hard look at their Management & Design Teams before worrying about the quality of their drivers. Had they built a decent car, then they Jonathan Neale would be in a position to talk about possible driver changes.

    1. JB says:

      Cliff,
      You have hit on the main point that really needs to be vetted. How about major management and engineering changes first! The car has been very poor, the twin engineering groups a disaster, and race weekend command and control abysmal! Just look at the last race. How can you select the wrong gear ratios? Even the independent FF teams generally get that one right.

      1. Adrian J says:

        Especially as they made the same mistake at Monza a couple of years ago…

    2. Quade says:

      Just maybe Mr Neale feels the drivers give the wrong feedbacks and set up a car like it was a camel? You never know, except you are a McLaren insider.

      1. Cliff says:

        Take your point completely, if the drivers can’t provide what is required, then it’s time for a change! We have to remember that driver feedback and set up is basically a 3 sessions lasting 4 hours in total, plus time in the Simulator.

        This takes me back to my original point. The 2013 Challenger appears to have fundamental flaws built into it, Mclaren has pretty much admitted this. The Simulator Wind Tunnel and CFD data have clearly not correlated in a way that makes this car easy to drive (think back to Canada when the cars were approaching the final Chicane), bouncing around and so on. I’ve since read that the airflow around the car is different to what was expected. Jonathan Neale talks about taking his time, but as MD he would have had to be part of the signing-off process for this years car. Add into the mix Martin Whitmarsh, Tim Goss and Paddy Lowe (yes Paddy Lowe – cars are usually signed off sometime around the second third of the previous season) and you start to see that the Management Structure of McLaren has played a significant part in the issues they now face. Nico Hulkenberg is available, but as a McLaren fan I think the Team owe it to the Drivers to provide them with a competitive car, only then should they be looking elsewhere

      2. Quade says:

        Button said they made a wrong turn with the car at the end of last season. At that time, Paddy Lowe had gone, so I’d (tentatively) take him off the hook. The question is what could have gone wrong so late in the development stage? Sadly, Button never elaborated.

        Yes, the car is a dog, but when you recall Button’s descent into setup hell last season; couple that with Perez being a greenhorn, then you wonder if the car is really that bad or there’s really a bad degree of driver malfunction in the soup mix.

        Does McLaren also have managerial issues? I’d say a big YES.

      3. Robert says:

        Why are you surprised? A number of us (myself included) were discussing the difficulty of McLaren changing from a low chassis design to a high chassis design almost three years ago – you basically have to throw out all of your tuning constants for your CFD models! And with limited testing, that means it is a LOT of guesswork and calibrated computer simulation. I have a background in complex computer simulations – I once ran a project that delivered a demand simulation for United Air that lost them $50MM the first year in production, due to bad tuning data (that was NOT my piece of the project, I hasten to add!). But I have seen first hand how difficult it is. And McLaren’s CFD models were JUST PLAIN WRONG, due to tuning data. Can’t blame the drivers, can’t REALLY blame the engineers, because it was bloody hard and highly speculative. But everyone knew that eventually McLaren had to abandon the low chassis and go high, and it would be risky. It was, and it hurts. The GOOD news is that I would say McLaren have developed a WHOLE LOT of high nose chassis data this year…which was the point of the excercise. Rock on McLaren in 2014! With Button and Hulk if there is any justice….

      4. Tyemz says:

        Making excuses for McLaren as an insider or outsider? Suddenly both McLaren’s drivers are so bad they give the wrong feedback week after week. Tell it to the birds. McLaren’s 2013 car is a dog, end of story! Mr. Neale could do with some hard truths.

  14. Chris says:

    I personally think they are missing Lewis a little this year and who can blame them for keeping their options open after one of their poorest seasons in years. I know you can’t blame the drivers for the poor car but clearly things need to change for next year and who knows..

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      They should change Whitmarsh, because without HAMILTON he’s achieved nothing, never, even a podium, even if it’s rainy, slow or quick circuits.

    2. eetFrog says:

      Bad car my ass. Lewis would have got just as many points for McLaren this year as he has for Mercedes! (not withstanding the
      the useless input from the McClaren sideline)

      Perez has dragged Button down to a new low!

      1. Aaron says:

        Agree, Maclaren need another fast driver who can actually push Button. Perez has only been able to push Jens maybe 3 times the whole season. If they get someone with speed who can maximise the car and then only can then team get back to top form. Perez bringing Jens and the team down definitely he is slow and is unable to motivate or help Jens learn where the car can be faster! I say get Alonso if they can otherwise Hulk would be much better or like my earlier post take a risk on Bianchi who is clearly very fast (although his competition is not much at that end of the grid)

    3. Tealeaf says:

      Missing Lewis? Lewis didn’t outscore Jenson and barely had more wins than him either, what Mclaren is missing is a works engine, a Newey/Allison/Byrne quality designer, a proper team principle like Brawn or Horner and the last thing is once they start on the pay driver road there’s only 1 way and thats down. Sign Hulkenberg and keep Jenson and hope 2015 works out otherwise rehire either Alonso or Hamilton, I’m sure Mclaren is not Vettel material right now.

      1. Richard says:

        Hamilton beat Button 2 years out of the three, and could have won the championship in the last year had McLaren not messed up

      2. Chris says:

        Erm, let’s not start the whole 3 years points tally thing again, seasons run for a year, then reset for the next year when all drivers and teams go back to zero a try again. James ran an interesting piece last year on the amount missed points lewis has through no fault of him own. Button did well, better than many expected but overal Lewis has his number for me.

        Anyway, I think lewis would have got more out of the car than the current pairing, as would Kimi, nando and vettel but that’s just my feeling, I can’t help but draw my attention back to Buttons little period of lostness last year that required lewis’s side of the garage to help dig him out and perez is not really setting the world alight now is he!

      3. Optimaximal says:

        ‘Horner’ and ‘proper team principal’ in the same sentence?

      4. Alexander Supertramp says:

        I don’t like the guy and he is nowhere as charismatic as the likes of Brawn, Williams or even Kaltenborn, but I do believe he’s done a good job at RB. We should have a bad Red Bull year to test his crisis management skills.

  15. Gudien says:

    Welcome back Fernando!

  16. Darren says:

    I think they like Perez’s attitude and work ethic but are disappointed that Button mostly has him in hand quite easily. I’d like to see Hulkenberg in there. Button has plenty of experience, I don’t think Massa would add anything.

  17. MikeyB says:

    Strange words indeed from Mr Neale. After an intro like that, anything less than the return of the Hakkinen/Dennis/Newey combo will likely be a disappointment!

  18. Pat Byrne says:

    Are Gillette lined up as title sponsor to replace Vodafone as reported? How does that effect things? Then there’s the Telex money and Honda’s wishes for 2015…

    The drivers are not to blame this year but neither of them have the consistency to be team-leaders of a McLaren-Honda superteam. Hulk may not have big career stats but potential seems much greater than current drivers.

    1. James Allen says:

      I’m not so sure they have anyone lined up just yet..

      1. Keith says:

        I think that McLaren don’t have a title sponsor sorted out yet, and they need to make sure that whoever is coming in – long term as title sponsor wants the current driver line up. Also there is the changeover to Honda power, and some sponsors may want to wait and join up with Honda. Plus added into this pot, we have their current position in the constructor’s championship, and that means a lot less money from Bernie, so another “hole” to fill in the budget. (Of course they could have some sort of special dividend from Bernie like Ferrari has regarding the constructors cash payout, but I doubt it.)

        Button is well known in Japan and a good front person, and he wants to stay, when Honda power comes online. Word is that Honda like him, and currently there are no real top Japanese drivers, so he would be the next best thing for them. His current girlfriend also helps to sell him to the Japanese people. The second driver maybe the problem area to fill. It maybe this is the swing position for the title sponsor?

  19. Eddyr says:

    Can’t say I’ve taken to Perez all that much. Ok, the lack of pace in the mclaren hasn’t done him any favours but I never thought it was a good choice, not just yet anyway.

  20. Rach says:

    Mclaren must be working out how to be in the best position for when Honda come on board?

    I’m sure they will keep Button and Perez but there must be something happening in the background that is affecting this. Whether it is another driver I’m not sure I think it will be length of contracts and sponsorship.

    I am sure though it is not Alonso. I don’t doubt there are doubts about Alonso at Ferrari but cannot believe Mclaren is possible considering the history.

  21. Sri says:

    After all the silly season we have had till now, McLaren saga seems to pale a bit as there are no “good” drivers left. I think both JB and McLaren are checking if the contract should be extended beyond 2014 or not. JB perhaps wants the logical extension of only one year so that he could jump the ship if needed where as McLaren may want it a bit further (my guess) OR vice versa. Regarding Perez, I always though he got lucky. Hulk was always the better choice. Why not grab him now?

    1. MikeyB says:

      No “good” drivers left? Well Juan Pablo Montoya is leaving NASCAR at the end of the season, so maybe…? ;-)

      1. John in SD says:

        Mikey,

        You have a great sense of humour. :)

      2. James Clayton says:

        what a story that would be!

      3. Kirk says:

        He is too old and just confirmed to race in Indy Car next year

      4. Robert says:

        Wouldn’t be the first time JB lost his seat to JPM…

  22. Flying lap says:

    I hope mclaren change at least one of that two average drivers

    1. Quade says:

      “I hope mclaren change at least TWO of that two average drivers.” :)

  23. Ross says:

    I wonder if looking around at how much it would cost to put Kevin Magnussen in a Marussia or Caterham next year is swaying their decision.

    They will be going through the motions whilst in limbo till Honda arrive. They should consider blooding him next season and if the reports are true that money is tight there they could save some money.

  24. Andrew Carter says:

    A bit off topic James, but what chance do you think McLaren have of getting either of their two young drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandorne, onto the grid next year in one of the smaller teams?

    1. James Allen says:

      Looks like Vandorne is flavour of the month at the moment with Whitmarsh, so pretty good I would say. Question is where? Marussia would like to keep the same drivers for a second year.

  25. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    Surely they can’t seriously be looking at other options (eg “name” drivers)? There has been a window in the market to secure Kimi, Mark, or multiple other drivers, yet there has not even been the slightest rumour about it.

    1. radohc says:

      can McLaren afford to pay bill for Kimi actually?

  26. Ravi says:

    What a difference a year can make. McL need to bounce back well in the coming 2 years or else…

    Its like stock trading, if you lose your way with too many losing trades early then its that much harder to come back…The death spiral !!!

    Suddenly McL isn’t looking good – neither management, neither technically nor driver-wise (Though this is not really the critical problem).

    One senses helplessness and lack of clarity and direction at McL. The world of F1 is changing fast and there are no guarantees of continued success. Afterall McL as a brand is also not Ferrari that can afford to not win for long and still not be too worried about the future…

  27. Torchwood Five says:

    This is the first year in ages that MacLaren have not won races or scored podiums.

    Compared to Ferarri’s several year drought that saw them do the near-impossible, and re-sign a driver – Raikonnen – that they booted out previously, is there an appetite yet at MacLaren to get the person who single-handedly damaged the team the way he did.

    1. John Gibson says:

      I believe the last time McLaren went through a season without scoring a single podium finish was 1980.

  28. JohnBt says:

    Kobayashi, Buemi and Jaime should be reinstated in F1.

    Jenson is just hanging on for the job and Perez is not as good as when he was in Sauber. Or McLaren is at a lost since the departure of Lewis?

    Massa is an angry man, but who could’ve blamed him. Lotus?

    Well, at least we still have some form of mystery to the musical chairs besides Vettel heading for his next WDC.

    1. Kevin says:

      Completely agree. Kobyashi is faster than Perez and would work well with Honda. As for Button…. I’m not going to dis a world champion but he has always had a problem driving around poorly set up cars. When he has the right machinery beneath him there is no-one on the track faster. With the regulation changes next year they need a fast driver to develop and get the maximum out of the car. However as both drivers have had to put up with shoddy cars this year if I were team principle at McLaren I would sign KOB as reserve driver and guarantee him a seat in 2015 with maximum possible Friday driving in 2014. Let Perez and Button race for their careers ….

  29. C Lin says:

    James, can you see Alonso partnering Perez At McLaren? But I still think Button deserves the seat.

  30. Iain says:

    I think everyone is waiting for the Honda engines more so than the driver lineup!

  31. Ryan says:

    Oh come on, what are they thinking? Do they think that this idiotic game is really going to make Button quiver in his racing boots? He’s the guy who in equal machinery, across three seasons beat Hamilton -who everyone today is having a love-fest with. Button beat him. deal with it. Who else is button beating? Oh, that would be Perez -and not by a small margin either. Button has more than two-and-a-half times as many points as his team mate and not only that; Perez is behind both Force India drivers in the standings. It goes Button 9th di Resta 10th Sutil 11th and then Perez in 12th.
    So McClaren wants to play games with their drivers now? That would be even dumber than their develpment of the all new MP4-28 and it’s “revolutionary” design(flaws).

    1. Ravi says:

      That Perez is average is obvious, then at the same time to measure button against him and claim he is great is illogical.

      In the same way to suggest Button beat Lewis and hence is a better driver is also over-simplifying what is clearly a complex comparison.

      Statistics are not a measure per se. Button seems not as hungry as say ALonso or Vettel or Hamilton.

      TO suggest Button is a team leader is a stretch.

    2. Quade says:

      Sadly, no team principal believes Button is even nearly of Hamiltons quality. McLaren mismanaged a nugget when they had it.

      If Button was that good, then Kimi, Hulk and Di Resta wouldn’t have been the names bandied in all transfer rumours and specifically mentioned by the Ferrari boss.

    3. Joel says:

      I know I’m stirring a pot here – but, Lewis is so good that Merc had to boot a 7 time world champion to hire him :)
      Just take it easy folks…

    4. Robert says:

      +1. Button was paid less than LH, and outscored him in points, and had a pretty decent showing in wins/podiums. I am NOT sure I rate him quite as high as Lewis, Alonso, or Vettel, to be frank. But..after those three…Kimi is of JB’s calibre, but not better – their quali results this year really show that, given the cars they are driving. Basically, if you can’t get Lewis, Vettel, or Alonso, JB and Kimi are neck and neck on the list behind them. And between JB and Kimi, JB WILL do the sponsor work McLaren demand to keep their bills paid, whereas Kimi is problematic in that regard. So…unless the world is weirder than I think, it’s Button back at McLaren for a year or two…

  32. Svencore says:

    Maybe in your mind, but im guessing youre a Vettel fan so we’ll discount your opinion.

    Pauls been solid, at times unspectacular, but he’s generally consistent in an underperforming car.

    Perez is a pay driver. Paul isnt. Comparison over.

  33. Harshad says:

    As James has indicated in past Button is Whitmarsh’s man, so atleast for next year Button drives McLaren!

    I guess, Button is trying to negotiate a two year deal and McLaren want to give him one year deal perhaps?

    Perez is only there for Slim’s money, if money doesn’t come then he may loose his seat.

    1. Joel says:

      Agree with you there.

  34. anon says:

    You take away the first half of 2009 where the Brawn had a huge advantage due to their liberal interpretation of the rules and Button has less wins than Felipe Massa.

    You can’t win championships with Button leading the charge in your team. May as well roll the dice with a Hulkenberg.

  35. Manu says:

    I get a kick at the little love given to Perez and all the praise given to HULK. It is also laughable to see how people think Perez has been extremely poor this year, especially when MCL have been nowhere near as competitive as they were last year? If the car was still fast, and Perez was doing poorly than I truly would agree that the criticism is merited. Granted, he hasn’t score a whole lot of points, but also the MCL car has not been of the caliber to earn consistent top-5 spots. Even Button (a world champion) is struggling to earn MCL a point.

    In terms of HULK being better than Perez, one needs to ask themselves what has HULK actually done in terms of a race finish? Yes, it is very easy for people to get carried away with a couple of top qualifying positions (i.e. Brazil and Monza), but what were the end results? Were there any podiums for HULK? NOPE! The pressure of the lead got to HULK in Brazil and he was also not able to capitalize from starting 3rd on the grid in Monza. Yet, Perez gets very little love or any respect for what he accomplished last year and how he did it. Using Monza as an example, Perez earned a 2nd place (and could have one if the race were 3-4 laps longer) by starting the race in 12th. After seeing HULK choke a 3rd place start 2 weeks ago, it just proves to me what an incredible accomplishment Perez achieved last year at Monza and how difficult it truly is. Don’t get me wrong I think HULK is a great driver, some say the best of the rest, but in terms of overall race credentials and results/podiums Perez is the much more accomplished driver (historically) than HULK is. Also, some of you need to stop saying that Kobayashi was better than Perez. Perez outperformed him both years at Sauber both in points and in podiums.

    In conclusion, I agree that Perez has been disappointing. But his car is definitely not up to the caliber of RBR, LOT, MERC and FER this year. We all saw his talents last year in a quick Sauber, therefore those results should demonstrate to us all his capabilities and potential. Just think, could ALO or VET win a Sauber this year? Could they have won with a McLaren, or done better than BUT or PER with the current car? More than likely not!

    1. Kirk says:

      The problem this year is that Perez has been beaten not only for his teammate but for the two Force India drivers (di Resta has double the points than him), while Hulk has beaten his teammate in all the races and qualifications, that is why everybody are comparing them and why Hulk has better grades. By the way, although what Perez did in Monza was good, this year Sauber is worse by far than the last year car. Finally, if you talk about that Hulkemberg got the pressure in Brazil last year, well, Perez couldn’t win in Malaysia also, he made a mistake when he was faster than Alonso and therefore unable to win because he got the same pressure.

    2. Robert says:

      Forget Brazil’s quali and race finish. Rewatch the first half (over and over) where Hulk battled Button and Hamilton (in better cars) in the rain. Notice that the ONLY two drivers in the entire field that stayed on SLICKS were JB (which we kind of expect from him, the rainmiester)…and…the Hulk! Even Lewis had to pit for inters…and he only got back in contention with Hulk and JB due to the safety car.

      Anyone that can dice it out with rainmeister Jenson Button, in the rain, on freakin’ slicks, at freakin’ Interlagos, for the freakin’ lead of the final race…can FREAKIN’ DRIVE. That’s not pay driver stuff, that is hand on your heart A-level driving.

      And THAT is why I and many others rate Hulk so highly. Results count, but so does obvious skill and obvious balls.

      1. Brooks says:

        ….until he lost control, took Lewis out of the race, and lost a few positions himself.

        I’m a big fan of Hulkenberg and believe he is future world champion material, but all did not go well in that particular example.

    3. shoko says:

      > Perez outperformed him both years at Sauber

      sry, in what reality?

  36. Fireman says:

    McLaren should hire Bottas and retain Button. Then they’d have BOT and BUT. And victories.

    1. iceman says:

      If some F1 team would just hire Felipe Guimaraes and William Buller from British F3 we’d have BUL, BUT, SUT, BOT, GUT and GUI to make those tower captions really confusing.

  37. janis1207 says:

    Well,
    they took Perez for his tyre saving skills, which is about all he has got. Sure, it looked like this kind of skill will be in much demand with this years silly tyres, but them it turned out the car is a dog, and now the tyres have changed, too. Perez can’t really demonstrate his one skill.
    Similarly for Button. He tended to beat Hamilton not because he was faster, but because he could be patient – and save tyres (but of course :) )
    Hopefully, McLaren will take on board racers now instead of tyre saving experts as the next year may not be as tyre dominated as the last couple of years.

  38. I’m going to say it and know I’m going to get castigated for it but I think the best thing for McLaren would be to poach Alonso back from Ferrari. He knows that he could beat Sergio and he knows that this time the team would know what to expect from him.
    Wouldn’t that be a twist in the driver market.

  39. Alexis says:

    McLaren trying to negotiate a pay cut for Button?

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      My guess. He’s supposed to be on 16 million a year, that’s expensive for 0 podiums, even when the car is not great. They want to to keep him because he’s good, but just not “16.000.000-good”. They also probably don’t want to commit further than 2014, even though they could just work with a contract option like they did in 2011 for Button’s current contract. But perhaps Button wants more certainty to be at Mclaren in 2015.

  40. Truth or lies says:

    Why would McLaren take a risk with Hulkenburg after the way Perez has worked out ?

    That’s seems to be Hulkenburgs problem and its a pity, but given the state of most team finances nobody can take risks with drivers.

    Eitherway it looks like they’ll be a change at McLaren, I was surprised to learn that Felipe Massa’s manger had been in touch with McLaren, now I am not.

    If Perez goes then Hulkenberg makes sense but is he really proven for such a drive. I know he did well in A1GP but not sure he’s done as well up to now as Kubica or Vettel, then maybe it’s just a perception – Monza was very a very solid drive.

    1. Totti says:

      …If Perez goes then Hulkenberg makes sense but is he really proven for such a drive.I know he did well in A1GP…

      And FBMW… and F3… and GP2. His pre-F1 results easily equal those of certain LH. Bringing them to the table as a sole measure of possible F1 success is often shortsighted but they can’t be overlooked either. As to the Kubica and Vettel comparison, that’s just a matter of perception IMO. There is no risk involved, the guy has speed and maturity one expects from a seasoned pro and is deserving of a big team to showcase it better. And no, I’m not his manager. ;-)

  41. Hans Faynmann says:

    Hopefully they don’t need the mexican sponsorship any more with getting the honda powertrain for free.
    Perez’ moves were – at best – hopeful,but often just impudent.
    Jenson has demonstrated in the past years that he is a great driver who can manage the tires and still is fast. This year he just doesn’t have the car to show his capabilities.
    So I think the best they could do is to stay with JB and get the Hulk, having an experienced driver and a young, hungry one – but one who uses his brain.

  42. Peter Hogan says:

    Drivers apart, McLaren’s problems I feel go back much further, and really started when they let Adrian Newey leave (they wouldn’t pay his required money) I don’t think Martin Whitmarsh is up to the job, and I think Sam Michael is a disaster – things have really gone downhill since he joined. They made a big mistake in letting Lewis leave (apparently hey didn’t want to pay him his required money)but anyway, I firmly believe that Lewis could see very clearly the writing on the wall. It would appear that their reluctance to pay the asking rate for the talent has cost then dearly. A team with ambitions absolutely has to have at least one driver able to extract the maximum from the cars (and team) and win consistently, and there are only really three such drivers on the grid. (Ok, four possibly!)
    I don’t think that there is an easy or quick fix for McLaren: their problems start at the top and nothing will change until the management does.

    1. Joel says:

      Atleast with Lewis, it was not about the money. The team was always on Button’s side and Lewis being the faster driver seems to be gethering the data for Button to setup and on the race day, a clever setting on Button’s car seems to trump for him (which Lewis was never (made) aware of).
      He felt he was treated as a second rate driver and felt the team was helping Button to get upto speed with him, instead of trying to help “him” win the championship.

      1. Robert says:

        If you don’t think it was about the money, then you don’t know F1 economics. As a privateer, McLaren can NEVER pay as much as the auto manufacturers, or a fizzy drinks company, all of whom write off their F1 expenses as advertising costs. McLaren actually need to turn a profit at the end of the year, which is why Newie left, Lewis left, and Lowe left – they simply cannot offer an insane amount of money like the other top teams can. I can only see a permanent decline in ALL of the privateers due to this mis-balanced economics – we see it now with Williams and McLaren both. Honda may help bring McLaren back to the top, if the economics work for both.

  43. Ruse says:

    Grab Alguersuari. He has experience, is fast and performs on race day.

    Or the Mag.

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      Jaime was good, but is he still that good? What has he been doing in the past years? Testing,..? He is not what you can call a “known quantity”. Hulkenberg is a good bet, and better sign him now than later when he starts racking up points in a Lotus and gets more expensive.

  44. fox says:

    In the future, for sure Alonso got some unfinished job in McLaren.

  45. madmax says:

    James,

    Do you know if it would be possible if McLaren/Ron Dennis would ever consider Alonso after what happened or is it completely a nonstarter?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not just Ron. I think it would be very hard to imagine

      1. madmax says:

        Thanks, what I thought and only asked because of his Ferrari relationship breaking down a bit and his talents being ranked considerably higher than McLaren’s current lineup.

      2. Sanjog says:

        He’s burnt a lot of people at Mclaren. Doubt even Withmarsh wants him, forget about Ron.

      3. Sanjog says:

        This just in

        http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns26366.html

        Seems there are whispers in the paddock of an Alonso move to Mclaren for next year. :o

        James, have you heard from your sources regarding this ?

      4. James Allen says:

        I’m asking around about it. There’s no smoke without fire, but I’m not sure he can get out of his Ferrari contract.

  46. The Spanish Inquisitor says:

    Nor CIA, nor Wall Street, nor any political parliament has the concentration of “sons of b…..” of the F1 Paddock. So all is possible in F1, but I think that the return of Alonso to McLaren is impossible.

  47. Dale says:

    Cream always (always) rises to the top and like them or not McLaren have proved over the years that they are one of the cream teams in F1, they will come good again, make no mistake Honda won’t mess about!
    I, like a few others believe had they retained Hamilton, even with the dog of a car they have produced this year would have secured many more points and almost certainly at least one podium – the sad fact is that both their current drivers are not in the top league of F1, nobody ever talks about Button when talking about the top drivers do they? There is a reason for that, namely he isn’t one and as for Perez he’s not good enough for a team like McLaren.
    I would love to see another global Japanese company come in as title sponsor for McLaren, a company like Sony for comes to mind. With Sony having taken control of their mobile phone operation F1 would be a great vehicle (untended pun) to promote their brand, their phones, computers and even their latest films etc
    If Hamilton is given a winning car by Mercedes in 2014 I don’t see him going back to McLaren and Alonso is getting older by the day, where will he be as a driver in 3 years time?
    Come on McLaren get your act together many many F1 one fans are rooting for you…..

  48. Fellowes says:

    I think there has to be a reason why McLaren have not yet confirmed, and clearly other drivers are in discussion with them.

    In my opinion, Hulk would be good for McLaren, and perhaps Perez should return to Sauber – if they opt for the Russian rookie, then they need a strong partner – Perez can replace Hulk and still provide the team with the Mexican money. This opens the Lotus door for Massa or Di Resta.

  49. lesaussice says:

    “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.”

    And yet Martin Whitmarsh is still on the payroll…

  50. Chris says:

    James, any interest from Lotus in Button?

  51. Gareth says:

    Mclaren are not looking at 2014, they are eyeing Alonso in 2015 and need to make sure they have all the cards in the right places. In their ideal world a Perez, Alonso partnership will seem sensible. Alonso will have the teams full backing and Perez will be a good number 2. An Alonso, Button pairing would be interesting but i cant see that happening.

  52. Karim says:

    I actually can’t see for the life of me how Hulkenberg would want to consider moving to Lotus- that would be another poor career choice (after moving from Force India to Sauber).

    I don’t think he is too keen on the idea- Allison, De Beer and Kimi gone, financial uncertainty within the team looming, looks like they will perform even WORSE than the Sauber for 2014. Hulk should push for a move to McLaren, but it will all depend really if Perez gets a satisfactory Mexican cash deal done or not and whether McLaren really need it. I can see Velaschi getting promoted as the number 2 driver for Grosjean at Lotus if McLaren are happy with Perez and the cash deal.

    Another possibility is that McLaren will arrange with Lotus for Perez to move to there and convince the Mexican backers to support him in this move (since Lotus needs all the money they can get), and then they will pinch Hulkenberg to have a proper competitive line up for 2014.

    These are my 2 scenarios!

  53. Rafael says:

    Why do I get this nagging feeling that Alonso will return to McLaren in 2015? Wishful thinking, I know. And I have to keep reminding myself it’s crazy, but Ron Dennis does have great admiration for Fernando’s grit and determination (more so after being threatened in Hungary ’07), and equally crazy things – if not crazier – things have happened. After all, there’s that old saying, “there are no permanent friends. Only permanent interests.”

  54. DanAbnormal says:

    Ron will never hire ALO again. Any speculation to the contrary is a waste of time.

    1. Andrew J says:

      If Ron was still an active part of the F1 team and on the board, then I would probably agree with you.

      However, these days he isn’t.

      Alonso has the backing of Santander who already have history with McLaren too. Button is very popular in Japan and for a PR/corporate savvy team like McLaren he’s a valuable asset for their partnership with Honda.

      Stranger things have happened.

  55. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Sign Hulkenberg, get rid of Perez.

  56. DanAbnormal says:

    McLaren have had cars that were untenable in the past. It’s never proven to be a trend, just a failure.

    The biggest change is in perception management. There used to be two dynamic characters in the pit lane, in Ron and Norb Haug, vociferously defending the team. The media is now left with a much more “controlled” corporate assurance. Without some of the surer hands on board, it comes off a bit thin.

  57. Dave Deacon says:

    The late signing is not about Button but Perez. Mclaren have someone else in mind for that seat and won’t simply sign JB whilst leaving SP hanging about – it would be too revealing and they might yet need SP. Rumour is Alonso to McLaren for next year. Fun and games happening soon.

  58. proxomos says:

    everyone is harping back to the mclaren honda days of old. I think even mclaren are a little too. Yes those were the ‘good old days’ but sadly there is no Senna or indeed no prost, and they haven’t stolen a march on the other teams by making their cars out of carbon fibre.

    Mclaren have been in a downward spiral ever since LH hinted he may leave. whitty jumped in bed with JB and it went worng from there.

    Perez should be back at sauba, whitmarsh jumped the gun there based on a single performance which was more the car than the driver.

    Mclaren are now left with two number 2 drivers, I think the true potential of the mp4-28 can only be unlocked by a faster driver, LH would be where he is now in the standings and probably would have won a race as well, the same if Kimi of FA were in the car, I just think JB like last year is all at sea, he’s never really been THAT quick anyway.

    New drivers needed ASAP. and perhaps a new team principal as well.

  59. Shurm says:

    Simple. Keep both of the drivers. I don’t see why McLaren need to change their drivers, this year their car has not been ideal and the drivers therefore have not been scoring top points.

    I say allow JB and Perez to race together. Their balance of experienced man and assertive kid works well. They just need machinery that makes them both competitive in their own way.

    I mean honestly, if Massa, Hulk or any other driver were in that seat could really expect better results? I don’t believe so.

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