It’s October 1 and that means that a lot of options and such things have come up for renewal and/or confirmation. This morning it was no great surprise to see Jenson Button confirmed at McLaren for 2016. There is no need to confirm Fernando Alonso because he has a solid three-year contract, something to which he agreed in exchange for a solid $40 million per season. If he wants to stop racing, there is nothing the team can do about it, but it cannot be expected to pay if he wants out. In such circumstances, the two parties would need to agree terms for termination and McLaren would then find someone else. Unless the contract allows for sabbaticals – which is highly unlikely – to organise that would require a new contract and thus a new financial negotiation, and one needs to remember that McLaren is less likely to be generous now, because money is tighter than before.
I would expect to see Stoffel Vandoorne named as the teams third driver at some point while it looks like Kevin Magnussen will need to rely on Renault taking over the Lotus team and deciding to employ him. He’d be a good choice. It may not be right, nor fair, but that is the way F1 can sometimes be. Kevin is still young and his talent should not be wasted.
The other announcement today is that Manor will have Mercedes engines in 2016. This was entirely expected and, with a brand new car being designed, the team will be taking a leap forward in terms of performance in 2016. Good for those who held the team together and for having brought it back from the brink! Some of the old team’s creditors have not been happy about the way things happened, and one can understand why, but the blame for the troubles must be laid at the feet of the previous owners, who simply gave up paying and left the team to die.
One can understand the frustration that the creditors feel at not being paid properly, but they still have business from the revived team, which would not exist if the team had simply given up and died.