McLaren plans to stick with the same driver line-up for the 2014 Formula 1 season, according to team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
His comments have come in the wake of Jenson Button’s admission that the Woking team – with whom he has raced since 2010 – is yet to take up an option on his services, with his current contract set to expire at the end of the season.
It’s understood that the team’s first-right option on his services is subject to certain performance clauses being met, although given the poor calibre of this year’s MP4-28 contender, that might be difficult to gauge.
Button’s admission predictably triggered a flood of rumours over the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, with tabloid sources suggesting that the Englishman was eyeing off possible drives at Red Bull Racing or Ferrari.
The future is seemingly as unclear for Button’s teammate Sergio Pérez, who joined the team at the end of last season as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement, following two years with the Sauber team.
But according to McLaren management, it has every intention of fielding the same driver line-up for the 2014 season – the first under the new 1.6-litre turbo regulations and its last with Mercedes before it reunites with Honda the following year.
“I think our guys deserve another go at it,” McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said.
“They have done a good enough job and they are a good couple of drivers. They deserve a better McLaren next year and that’s what we’re hoping to give them.”
A factor certainly playing into McLaren’s decision to retain the same line-up is the rumoured title sponsorship deal with Mexican telco Telmex, who are believed to be joining the squad on a multi-year multi-million-dollar deal to replace McLaren’s current title sponsor, Vodafone.