Jenson Button will have to wait until the conclusion of a McLaren board meeting in early December before discovering his fate.
Group CEO Ron Dennis promised Button and team-mate Kevin Magnussen an answer as to who would be in the car next year prior to the end of the F1 season.
With Fernando Alonso signed up – although not announced as yet – for a return to McLaren after negotiating his way out of the remaining two years of his Ferrari contract, the second seat is a straight choice between Button and Magnussen.
With Honda also returning to McLaren as power-unit supplier, Button’s 15 years of experience in tandem with Alonso would appear to be the logical choice.
The 34-year-old has also out-qualified and out-performed Magnussen this season, with the Dane’s form patchy towards the end of the campaign after a stunning start in Australia. Button, however, is the more expensive choice, and given McLaren are breaking the bank for Alonso, they have to be careful with regard to their finances.
Button’s future in F1 now rests on the board meeting when Dennis will sit down with rest of the Group’s shareholders.
“That’s where it will be discussed,” said Dennis. “I’ve not made up my mind yet, but it’s not mine (a decision) alone, and anyway, it wouldn’t be appropriate.
“Any decision has to be supported by the shareholders and the board.
“It’s pretty understandable we’re looking at two people, and there’s a broader choice than Kevin and Jenson, but nevertheless whatever the decision, it won’t be taken until then (the board meeting).”
Asked as to the difficulties behind the decision, Dennis added: “It depends where you look at the whole thing from because you can make arguments in all directions.
“But given the amount of work we are doing at the moment with Honda, and all the various financial partners, we should have said much earlier on ‘our drivers are contracted to the end of this year and we will take an appropriate decision at the right time’. The right time is in the next few days. It’s certainly not prior to the end of the season.”
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