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McLaren insists driver announcement will be made soon

ESPN Staff
November 5, 2013 « Boullier praises 'brilliant' Grosjean | Understanding tyres key to Vettel's dominance - Horner »
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McLaren has reiterated it will make its 2014 driver announcement shortly as Sergio Perez waits to hear confirmation of his future.

Jenson Button will remain at the team next year but McLaren has avoided confirming Perez's position, sparking rumours that it will promote young driver Kevin Magnussen to the team next year. Magnussen recently won the Formula Renault 3.5 series and McLaren is hoping to find a place for him in Formula One next year, with Marussia among the likely destinations.

But as the lack of an announcement at McLaren lingers on, speculation has grown that Magnussen could be named instead of Perez for 2014. Asked in Abu Dhabi when an announcement would be made, team principal Martin Whitmarsh said it would come soon.

"When will we make our driver announcement? The answer is I suspect we'll be making it quite shortly."

However, Perez appears confident he will stay at McLaren after admitting he has not talked to any rival teams about 2014.

"I haven't seen the need to go after any other team," he said. "I expect to come back with this team, I believe in the team and I really think we can be fighting for the championship next year."

Meanwhile, Whitmarsh has underlined that he believes Magnussen is one of the hottest properties on the driver market now he has won the Formula Renault 3.5 title. Making a comparison with recently-crowned GP2 champion Fabio Leimer, he said that Magnussen had won against tougher rivals and done so in his second year in the series rather than his fourth.

"There's nothing wrong with GP2 but I think the quality of the field in World Series [by Renault] recently has been beyond that of GP2, with all due respect to the guy who has won GP2 as he's been doing a good job," he said. "I believe he [Leimer] has been doing it for four years, along with a few Asian Series so that's quite an expensive bit of progress.

"GP2 has got considerable merit in that you're on the right circuits, similar tyres, which are perhaps very different from the Michelins you have in World Series, let's put it like that and as politely as I can. It has some merit but I think it's become difficult for a rookie to go in there and win it, but I think a good quality rookie can go in it and win it and I hope that's what is going to happen next year."

Whitmarsh's last comments were in reference to McLaren young driver Stoffel Vandoorne who is testing a GP2 car this week and is expected to compete in the series next year.

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