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Report: McLaren trying for Vettel or Alonso

Aug 28, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

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It’s no secret that McLaren would like a big name star to spearhead Honda’s return to F1 next year, and Eric Boullier is making both overtones and undertones that only a World Champion will do.

While both four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel and two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso are on the radar, prying either driver from their respective contracts at Red Bull (2015) and Ferrari (2016), respectively, could be difficult.

Still, Boullier remains persistent and is keen on getting at least one of the two, even if it means waiting.

“We are still pushing and we will take the time we need. We don’t want to do a mistake – we have one shot and we don’t want to miss it,” Boullier told Autosport.

“McLaren is a top team, a big team, with a lot of history and we want to be back where we should be.”

Boullier also made waves during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend when he said he didn’t want to wait until the offseason to confirm McLaren’s 2015 lineup.

The team’s current lineup of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen have had their moments of brilliance this year, but like in 2013 (Button and Sergio Perez), neither’s been an all-star outside of perhaps one or two Grands Prix.

McLaren could, hypothetically, be in a situation as it has done in the past where it could sign either Vettel or Alonso for 2016 – a year out. It’s been able to do this in the past by signing Juan Pablo Montoya for 2005 at the end of 2003, and signing Alonso for the first time for 2007 at the end of 2005.

If that were to happen, that would already put its two 2015 drivers on notice before the season starts, but still give them enough time to prove themselves once more.

  1. techmeister1 - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    Actually McLaren knows that neither driver is currently available but they might foolishly be interested in Vettel in the future. Alonso isn’t leaving Ferrari as long as they can improve their performance and they are slowly doing this as is McLaren.

  2. photog645 - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Eric Boullier’s comment that McLaren is a “Top team . . .” is just so much Bovine Scatology! They have not produced a car capable of consistently winning for YEARS. The last GOOD car they had was in the next to the last year of the previous formula and Button got the most out of it. The next year, that IDIOT Whitmarsh decided on a big REDESIGN in the last year of the formula instead of tweaking the good car they already had. The result was a DOG that probably even the pace car could beat in a heads up race! Boullier, the stupid a – – hole, is talking about having a world champion to run the new Honda powered car. Well he HAS a World Champion on the team now in the person of Jenson Button! Button is perfectly capable of taking any car that McLaren is capable of producing to a WDC and a WMC if it has more performance than the mobile chicanes McLaren has produced in the last few years! I was not surprised when McLaren fired Martin Whitmarsh after he showed inability to make good decisions to move the team forward. I was REALLY SURPRISED when they hired Boullier as a replacement! I really don’t think this guy is very long on brains, judgment, or ability and I really don’t think he will ultimately take the team in a good direction. In fact, I think he is going to be a disaster cut from the same cloth as Whitmarsh! I think the teams driver lineup needs to be left alone! I think that Button and Magnussen are perfectly capable of putting the car at the front of the pack IF THE CAR IS CAPABLE OF RUNNING AT THE FRONT OF THE PACK! If, however, the car is the same POS that McLaren has been producing for the last few years, NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO PUT IT AT THE FRONT!

  3. zydecobro - Aug 28, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Drivers are getting paid way too much which in return creates serious comfort zones
    so teams are suffering..

  4. JEF - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    If they were smart they’d take Hamilton and let them be their star. Riccardo will eclipse Vettel but Vettel still has a little time for that. Hamilton needs a new home to shine in.

  5. shotgunzoom - Aug 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    JEF, think you are on to something. I think LH has proven himself as a daring driver as well as plus when it comes to development and setup. My only concern is that he has always been a Mercedes guy. I think he’s matured enough to succeed elsewhere. I personally thought he was crazy to sign for MB. Crazy like a fox I guess.

  6. dolphinsfan95 - Aug 28, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Not saying it’ll happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Hamilton goes back to McLaren if he keeps getting screwed over by Rosberg/Mercedes unreliability in the last 7 or so races. But I still think Hülkenberg deserves a chance at a top F1 team.

  7. techmeister1 - Aug 28, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    Hammy would not return to McLaren any time soon as he likes the rockstar lifestyle and that just don’t cut it at McLaren because they are a far classier operation than the chosen one.

  8. shotgunzoom - Aug 28, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    Yeah, because James Hunt was such a classy choirboy!!

    Meister please either post that you have some hate for LH or that you enjoy being hypocritical!!!

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