We’re not even halfway through the season and the Formula 1 driver market rumours are doing the rounds already for the 2015 season. Most stories are, as usual, well wide of the mark.

McLaren seems to have found itself front and centre in recent days, courtesy of some (not unexpected) appallingly researched and sourced gossip trying to disguise itself as news from none other than – you guessed it – the British tabloids.

This time the offender is none other than The Telegraph, which seems to be on something of an anti Jenson Button crusade at the moment. In two separate pieces, it’s claimed that McLaren has its eye on none other than Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel as the Englishman’s replacement.

Telegraph Sport understands the team have also opened very tentative dialogue with Lewis Hamilton, in case the psychological scars of this year’s title fight at Mercedes become too great. The only circumstances in which Hamilton would leave Mercedes are if he lost out to Nico Rosberg for the drivers’ championship,” the story’s author, journalist Daniel Johnson wrote.

Hamilton returning to McLaren would be a crushing admission of failure, wouldn’t it? There’s simply no logic to it at all: why would he give up the most competitive car he’s ever had, unless his position within the team had become completely untenable. It just simply does not make sense.

The same rag and its writer then went on to claim that Alonso and Vettel were also in the frame. It sagely notes that 2014 is the final year of Button’s current contract with McLaren, and on the basis of Button’s solitary podium to-date in what is (once again) not the team’s finest car, the writer put two and two together, and made three.

“Alonso … seems the most likely candidate, although it remains to be seen whether the Spaniard can be persuaded to join for the first year of Honda engines in 2015,” the report reads.

Oh please. The stumbling block to an ‘Alonso back to McLaren’ headline is the return of McLaren CEO and Alonso nemesis, Ron Dennis. As unhappy as Alonso may be at Ferrari, he’s not going to switch to a team with an equally patchy record of car designs, headed by an egomaniac, and facing the arrival of a new engine with unknown performance and reliability.

As if to further clutch at straws, the report also suggested that Magnussen instead could be jettisoned if the team opted to keep Button. The young Dane has long been on McLaren’s books and is considered a star of the future – there’s absolutely no way the team would let him escape to a rival outfit. The more sentences one read in this so-called story, the more desperate the entire thing felt.

Needless to say, the groundswell of gossip forced McLaren – which never makes a habit out of confirming its driver line-ups this early in a season – to hose water on the burning embers.

“We are not looking to finalise our driver line-up now,” McLaren CEO Ron Dennis said emphatically during the Austrian Grand Prix.

“We are lucky to have two drivers who want to commit to us for the future. We have some contractual options we can pick up, so we are not in a rush to decide our future driver line-up – we are evaluating and assessing every strategy for the future,” McLaren Racing Director, Eric Boullier, told reporters during a phone-in session this week.

The denials won’t, unfortunately, stop the usual bottom-feeders from continuing to regurgitate the same unsourced gossip…

Image via XPB Images

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.