“No-one could have predicted the tension inside Mercedes-Benz,” Ron Dennis, the McLaren chief executive, told reporters at Monza. “We can all imagine a range of scenarios that could see one of those drivers on the market by the end of the year.
“We always have the best available drivers. So the first thing you have to establish, before you have any process of selection – and is not derogatory, detrimental or negative to your existing drivers – is who is available. Availability in F1 isn’t as black and white as you would think.”
McLaren have refused to confirm either Jenson Button, whose contract expires at the close of 2014, or Kevin Magnussen for next season, with the team openly flirting with Fernando Alonso and reputedly making a name-your-price approach to World Champion Sebastian Vettel as they seek a ‘marquee name’ to herald the start of their new partnership with Honda.