Team boss Eric Boullier has stated that McLaren “intends” to keep longtime F1 veteran Jenson Button for 2016.
McLaren has an option on the 2009 world champion’s contract, but also has two youthful talents waiting in the wings in Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne.
Both have made a case to be in a second car for McLaren, let alone another team on the grid, which is something Boullier and company might be entertaining. Similar to putting a player on loan in soccer, McLaren may put a transfer fee on the duo in hopes to give them experience at the top level.
Magnussen raced for McLaren last season, recording a runner-up result in his Formula 1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix. The Dane was dumped for multi-world champion Fernando Alonso and left in a reserve role and a hope that 2016 would be the year he would return to the grid.
A case can be equally made for Vandoorne, who has out-paced everyone for the GP2 Series title thus far in 2015. The talented Belgian is rumored to be the favorite for the seat should McLaren move on from Button.
“Obviously we expect the four of them to race (in 2016). It’s a luxury to have four good drivers. Stoffel and Kevin are very good drivers,” said Boullier. “Both of them we expect to be in Formula 1 and if we cannot accommodate them at home we will do our best to make sure they can race next year.”
As for further inclinations of the McLaren’s intentions for 2016, Boullier appeared content with the current lineup.
“As far as we are concerned, McLaren-Honda, we have only two cars so there will be only two race seats.
“We have two world champions and we do intend to keep them so far.”