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McLaren concede line-up uncertainty 'uncomfortable' for drivers

26 Aug 2014

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has said that he understands if Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen feel “uncomfortable” about their futures, but insists that it is right that the team take their time in deciding their 2015 driver line-up.

The Woking-based squad, who overhauled Force India for fifth place in the constructors' championship at the last race in Belgium, are set to start a new long-term partnership with Honda next season - a factor that Boullier indicated was key to McLaren’s thinking going forwards.

“We are working on the strategy for the driver line-up for the next years,” the Frenchman told a McLaren-Mercedes phone-in on Tuesday. “For me it's important to say ‘years’ because we are looking for three years and maybe five years.

“It's true that with Ron [Dennis, McLaren Group CEO] being back since January and me being new in to the team we have asked for a little bit more time than necessary, but we can afford this time, even if it is uncomfortable for the drivers, which I understand. We have to put our priorities [first].”

However, Boullier was quick to praise the jobs done by Button and Magnussen during what has been a difficult season so far.

“They have performed better than we could have expected,” he said. “First of all we didn't give them a good enough car, and of course the worse the car is, the more difficult it is to drive. We are now trying to bring performance as fast as we can.

“In terms of driving I think both drivers have done a very good job. Kevin had a podium in the first race and then obviously went through a few experiences which are part of the learning process. In the case of Jenson, he is super professional and has delivered everything he could out of the car.”

Having watched Button and Magnussen battle competitively with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso for fifth place at Spa-Francorchamps, Boullier said he felt “comfortable and confident” that McLaren will enjoy “a stronger end to the season than beginning.”

“Our car is working decently at high-speed tracks like Spa and - we expect - Monza,” he explained. “Then from Singapore we’ll have a big upgrade on the car which I hope will deliver on its promise.

“We should have another couple of developments before the end of the season which should clear us from Force India but also [help us] fight in the middle of Ferrari, Williams and Red Bull. I have no idea if we will get [another] podium before the end of the season, but if we do our job properly then maybe [it’s a possibility].”