Ron Dennis says McLaren will hire the best drivers available for 2015, adding that he is satisfied with the performance of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen so far this season.
McLaren is keeping its options open for next year, when the Woking-based outfit will rekindle its famous partnership with Honda, as speculation continues to pick up pace regarding its driver line-up.
In an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Dennis was reminded about his recent “try harder” comment to Button. “Anyone who has actually seen the TV interview in question will know that there was an element of humour in what I said,” he said.
“Having said that, did I also intend to give Jenson a bit of a wake-up call? Yes, I did. But I did it softly, not maliciously. Indeed, perhaps the efficacy of my strategy was confirmed by the fact that Jenson immediately reacted by achieving his best race result of the year.
“Anyway, to tackle the specificity of your question, yes, I’m satisfied with both Jenson and Kevin,” he added. “They’re both capable of winning Grands Prix in a competitive car – Jenson has proved that 15 times in his long Formula 1 career, and Kevin has already demonstrated abundant pace in his so-far-short Formula 1 career – but clearly we’re not giving them a competitive car at the moment.
“Nonetheless, despite that, I want them to give their best – and, at the same time, be responsible enough to appreciate that McLaren will always make efforts to hire the best drivers available. If such opportunities arise, we’ll appraise them; we always have and we always will. All great Formula 1 teams are the same in that regard. But we’re not in a position to do that at the moment.”
When asked about McLaren hiring a big name such as Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso, he replied: “As I say, we’ll always look to employ the best drivers available – but they have to be available, don’t they?
“Having said that, for the avoidance of doubt, Jenson and Kevin represent an excellent blend of capable experience and youthful promise, and we’re very happy with both of them.
“The fact that we’re keeping an eye on what a few other drivers are up to in no way contradicts that, because, as I say, if opportunities arise, we’ll appraise them – we always have and we always will.”
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