A new name “might” have leapt into contention to become Fernando Alonso’s teammate at McLaren-Honda next year.
Former team driver Martin Brundle on Saturday told McLaren supremo Ron Dennis that everyone in the paddock knows Alonso has now inked a deal for 2015.
“Which driver are you talking about?” Dennis told the commentator for British television Sky.
In truth, despite Dennis’ insistence, the only true question-mark is over the identity of Alonso’s teammate.
Conventional Dennis logic would suggest McLaren will put together the best and most experienced drivers it can muster — and that might be Alonso and the 2009 world champion Jenson Button.
But paddock rumours suggest the Woking based team is in fact more likely to keep the in-house rookie Kevin Magnussen on board.
Dennis told Brundle: “You presume that there are three people involved in this choice. But I think you should stretch your imagination to four.”
The most logical fourth candidate would be the McLaren-contracted GP2 driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who commandingly won Saturday’s Abu Dhabi race from pole.
He will also drive the Honda-powered interim McLaren in next week’s post-race Abu Dhabi test.
“‘Might’ is an interesting word,” answered Dennis, when asked if Belgian Vandoorne might be a candidate.
Later, however, team boss Eric Boullier played down the Vandoorne rumours, suggesting the 22-year-old will spend another year in GP2 to try to win the title.
The smart money now is on McLaren fielding an Alonso-Magnussen lineup in 2015.
“I have a strong desire for Denmark to wake up,” Dennis told Danish television TV3, “and realise that they have an unique opportunity to support someone who could easily become a sporting legend of the country.
“I hope that one of the multinationals realises that life is not always about money but also national pride.
“I’ve done my part,” added Dennis, “and I think it’s time that Denmark does the same.” (GMM)