There are several world champions on the Formula One grid this year, but only two multiple world champions. And McLaren wants them both. In fact, the latest reports from pit lane indicate that the British team is undertaking a concerted effort to sign one or both for next year or beyond.

According to Autosport, both team principals Ron Dennis and Eric Boullier are focused on signing Sebastian Vettel and/or Fernando Alonso, who have between them taken six of the past nine world championships (the other three belonging to Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, all of whom have driven for McLaren) and are prepared not only to pay handsomely, but also to wait: Vettel is currently signed with Red Bull through the end of 2015, and Alonso with Ferrari through 2016. But both have struggled this season with cars that can't keep up with the front-running Mercedes, and could welcome the opportunity to start afresh with a new team – and a highly successful one at that.

Of course, McLaren hasn't been at the top of its game lately either, but the Woking outfit is at the dawn of a new era. Next year it's bringing Honda back to the grid with an all-new engine that may take some time to break in but stands a chance of threatening the Mercedes' dominance this season in a way that the Renault and Ferrari engines have not. It just needs the right drivers to pilot them.

As of yet, it seems that McLaren has not received a firm "no" from either driver's camp, and appear to be eager to continue pursuing either or both until they're told otherwise. In the meantime, the team is leaving its current drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen in limbo with the prospect of being signed for another year, another few or not at all. It all depends on what becomes of Alonso and Vettel.

After winning his back-to-back titles with Renault, Alonso briefly drove for McLaren in 2007. That was the same in which Vettel made his race debut for Toro Rosso, two years before switching to the Red Bull team he's been ever since.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      h-man
      • 8 Months Ago

      McLaren just doesn't have a good history in the last decade of being able to produce a dominating car.  It would be foolish for Vettel to leave Red Bull with their record of innovation.  Alonso is the star at Ferrari, why would he leave to return to McLaren?  Money?  Ferrari pays him plenty and he loves the brand.

        RocketRed
        • 8 Months Ago
        @h-man

        Dennis and Alonso have an ugly history together so I really doubt that combination is on.  I think Vettel has too much currency at RBR, even with getting beat down by Ricciardo, currently.  Marko his back.  He is only going by choice, and he will not choose to go to the midfield just to get away from a lashing by Ricciardo.

        It might be worth keeping an eye over at MB.  If Rosberg doesnt win the title and things get uglier at MB, they might be able to buy him out, but that would cost them a lot considering he just re-signed. Hamilton currently has no new contract.  Nonetheless, I doubt any amount of drama will cause a driver to leave a seat with 1-2s advantage on the field.  But then again who thought Hamilton would leave McLaren when it was the quickest car? 

      JF GeSchmidtt
      • 8 Months Ago

      McLaren has the best engine out there right now and they are fighting with Force India.  Even if the Honda engine will be on par with the Mercedes (which it won't) what makes McLaren think they will produce a chassis that is any more competitive than the one they have right now?  Since/if that is the case why would either of these drivers head that way?  I don't see Ferrari providing anything worse next year, and if they unfreeze engine development, which I think they will, they may even have a competitive car.  We have seen what Alonso is capable of wringing out of a noncompetitive car.  It is doubtful though that anyone is going to make up the 1 to 1.5 seconds that MB has over the rest of the field unless there are some relaxing of the rules.  So why would either driver desert rides that are equally as competitive as the ones they have now?

        Liam
        • 8 Months Ago
        @JF GeSchmidtt

        Next years engines will equalise more or less with the current advantage mercedes has. The question is then who will innovate further...? 

        McLaren having a dedicated engine supplier will have more say on the design and will better be able to design an engine chassis pairing that only mercedes and ferrari have at the moment

      Pat
      • 8 Months Ago

      Let's put things into perspective here ... Honda was good, once!  It's last return to F1 was not filled with success.

      At the time, a certain 1996 world champion moved over and pretty much saw his F1 carreer end.

      What's to say that this won't happen again!?

        futurecars
        • 8 Months Ago *Edited*
        @Pat

        Do not look only at Honda won, but look at how they won, yes they had a good career but what save them was that they were more reliable and they have good drivers at the time, the renault turbo engine car was much faster than honda in the  87, 88,89,90,91 but it was unreliable, and it beat honda in 1992, combination william/renault when renault engine got more reliable. In 1992, from the season begin,  renault/williams was beating honda/mclaren left, right and centre with the same drivers they have, so honda /mclaren have no excuse, they were outrightly beating that year. Honda with drew from the race the following year.

        Today engines are more reliable, but the powerunits are failing on the renaults and ferrari, if infiniti and redbull get the unit going, then merc and redbull is going to be very troublesome for honda.

      sidewinderx5
      • 8 Months Ago

      lol. alonso. to mclaren? with ron dennis? i think not. 

      Hek!
      • 8 Months Ago

      Yea, not gonna happen. Vettel's not about to run away from the team that literally dropped 4 WDCs in his lap & every time he's been asked Alonso has said he wants to stay at Ferrari, that could mean something. 

      Joey Branum
      • 8 Months Ago

      Welcome to yesterday's news:


      http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/sep/02/fernando-alonso-ferrari-boring-slow-heavy-car-mclaren