McLaren “intends to keep” Alonso and Button for 2016

2015 Italian Grand Prix

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McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says the team intends to retain Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button despite pressure on the team’s driver line-up for 2016.

McLaren has test driver Kevin Magnussen, who raced for the team last year, waiting in the wings. Another of its junior drivers is Stoffel Vandoorne, who is comfortably leading the F1 junior series GP2.

Speaking in today’s FIA press conference Boullier said the team “expect the four of them to race” next year.

“As far as we are concerned in McLaren we have only two cars so there will be only two race seats. We have two world champions today and we do intend to keep them, so far.”

“Nevertheless it’s a luxury problems to have four good drivers and we will do, obviously Kevin and Stoffel are very good drivers. Both of them we expect them to race Formula One and if we can’t fit or accommodate them at home we will do our best to make sure they can race next year.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    32 comments on “McLaren “intends to keep” Alonso and Button for 2016”

    1. I love JB in the paddock, but will he be motivated to participate? Unless Honda can somehow replicate the Mercedes ERS system performance to pair with their mediocre ICE, I don’t see McLaren making their way up the grid and fighting for podiums, let alone wins next year.

    2. And so they should!!

    3. Make sure they can race next year… where? Almost every seat in all other teams are virtually filled – there’s nobody left to send Vandoorne or Magnussen.

      Could this be a hint a Honda-B team is being set up? Other than paying Manor to run the pair of them I don’t see where else they could go.

      Regardless, both Alonso and Button are very good drivers, there’s no reason to replace either of them when McLaren have considerably bigger problems to solve.

      1. @rocketpanda

        Could this be a hint a Honda-B team is being set up? Other than paying Manor to run the pair of them I don’t see where else they could go.

        This is what I thought as well. Though making an Honda B-Team from where? An F1 team is not something you build in a couple of months. They’d need to buy a smaller/defunct one, and as far as I know there aren’t any available.

      2. wonder if manor have a contract for ferrari next year or if honda could use manor as B. might solve a lot of problems for both the teams, honda and the four drivers

        1. I don’t think Manor have an engine contract in place at the moment.

      3. Haas F1 team who are coming in next year may sign Magnussen??

      4. Vandoorne shouldn’t race next year. Looking at Force India and Williams who successfully put drivers in the cockpit it seems the best way for a rookie to come to F1 is if he spends a year doing FP1’s as a third driver and racing the next year.
        A year like that will give Vandoorne experience that will help feel more at home when he gets a seat and not be overwhelmed by the demands of F1.
        Mclaren should make a deal for Magnussen in another team, put Vandoorne in a third driver role with lots of practice sessions and simulations and keep their current drivers.
        Then it can say buy to Button and put Vandoorne in the driving seat for 2017.

    4. They should not keep Alonso. He has not been praising Pirelli enough.

      1. Don’t worry. He’s scheduled for his brain-washing session next week.

    5. If JB is there next year I will eat my crash helmet.

    6. It’s a shame, though, that car won’t be going anywhere in 2016, until something short of an actual miracle happens. It’s nice seeing Button in the grid, but it’s not nice seeing him just making the numbers. Who would have thought we would be saying this of McLaren.

      1. don’t discount them yet for 2016. there ICE seems there abouts now, it is just energy recovery now, and I don’t think engine tokens are needed for that development (correct me if I’m wrong). it might be packaging issues because of heat, that will be addressed with a new 2016 chassis.

        1. Will it? Aria has said they are doomed, I mean, planning to work within size-zero. Alonso or button needs to tell Dennis that a design approach cannot be based on how cool it sounds. In what form or engineering design— autos, aerospace, washing machines, whatever,—do you start with radically, excessively restrictive parameters when you have no experience in the application? At this point, if a decent ERS system could be jammed into that chassis, Mercedes would be size zero. Mclaren is basically saying, you guys are winning, but your car is too fat, you’ve taken the wrong design approach. Sorry but no. This all reminds me of the MP4-18/19 disaster when mclaren tried to reinvent the f1 car and ended up with a bunch of wrecked or barbecued cars.

    7. I think this situation has changed since Spa. The “jungle drums” before Spa were very much that McLaren was going to stand JB down for Vandoorne’s benefit, whilst ensuring that KMag is in a competitive situation elsewhere. Now, I think both Vandoorne and Magnussen are going to be resigned to Haas at best, and Manor more likely.

      Needlessly, I would add. McLaren have two junior stars who have proven their abilities beyond doubt, a #1 driver with similar levels of experience to Button and a 2016 season that will likely see sub-optimal performance. From McLaren’s perspective, why not use the 2016 season to break in one of your future stars when the exits of Alonso and Button remain inevitable?

      F1 is being frustratingly lethargic in rewarding the excellent performances of young drivers, which is confusing since the excellent performances of this season’s rookies remain among the few positive headlines of the 2015 season.

      1. @countrygent
        Right, but is formula 1 globally lethargic or is it just McLaren doing the logical choice in trying to make progress? The Honda engine is probably a good concept on the paper, but I’d make the same choice if I had the same failing partner.

        It’s a shame, and as a Vandoorne fan I seriously hope they will not thrash him like they already trashed Magnussen. I hope but doubt McLaren can make them run in F1 next year. We need a miracle, some rolling drums or a dramatic turn of events for this to happen.

        1. @spoutnik Definitely globally, McLaren by contrast actually has a good record of putting faith in young drivers. One could even call them impetuous, because for every Raikkonen, Hamilton or Hakkinen there has been a Kovalainen or a Michael Andretti. With that record in mind, I thought Vandoorne to McLaren was a slam-dunk; I guess not.

          Also, what can Button now provide that is not being provided on the other side of the garage by the equally experienced and cerebral Alonso?

          Manor appears the likely destination for both of McLaren’s proteges, and for that money is required, not miracles.

          1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
            5th September 2015, 12:12

            Also, what can Alonso now provide that is not being provided on the other side of the garage by the equally experienced and cerebral Button?

      2. The issue here is that the entry list currently has only 10 teams. With the demise of teams at the rear of the field the sport has lost roughly 4 seats into which drivers from the bigger teams development programs would have been placed for 1 – 2 seasons. Overall 3 rookies in 2015 from a field of 20 drivers is o.k.

        Yes I would love to see Van Doorne in an F1 seat in 2016, he looks more than ready without the roughness of Verstappen.

        Without insight into the inner-workings of McLaren we can have no idea of the value JB brings to team, other than to say that for McLaren at this time it appears to be greater than the value they see in replacing him with Van Doorne or Magnussen.

        1. Jenson brings massive popularity in England.

    8. Alonso’s never going to get that third title is he

      1. Well, no one else will get another title if they are not “accepted” by Mercedes into their holy team.

      2. Think about it McLaren came last in 2007 then Hamilton won 2008…

        1. @philipgb do you work for Honda’s PR department?

        2. Honda to brawn would be a better example to give. Although they did switch to Mercedes power

        3. Lol. Well, yes, technically, but only because of ‘Spygate’. Which was a huge shame because without that Mclaren would/should easily have taken home the prize for the CC in ’07.

          It’s just been a decade and a half of near misses, bad choices and frustration. Sigh.

      3. button to get his second you mean obviously

    9. Hoping for Button to retire and Vandoorne to take his seat. I don’t think Button is getting much joy out of F1 any longer, and Vandoorne simply deserves a decent car and a opportunity to show his talent. Magnussen could be placed at Manor or Haas then.

      1. @me4me If you think Vandoorne deserves a decent car, why do you want in McLaren?

    10. If Vandoorne isn’t in an F1 race seat next year, I’ll… write angry stuff on Twitter, or something. McLaren, Manor, wherever…

    11. I wouldn’t necessarily take Bouliers word as gospel. His track record of predicting McLarens future is not very good.

      I think they will keep Button and Alonso. But I don’t think they will get seats for Vandoorne and Magnussen. There are no seats to get. Most likely Magnussen will go to another series and Vandoorne will become reserve driver.

    12. I’d love to see Mclaren supporting the setup of an ART F1 team, to work as a Mclaren Honda ‘b-team’.

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