McLaren ‘have not’ started 2017 talks

Date published: June 5 2016

Eric Boullier is adamant McLaren have yet to consider next year’s line-up as it would be “too distracting” at this stage of the season.

At present McLaren have three strong possibilities for 2017 in Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Stoffel Vandoorne.

The latter is expected to be promoted to a race-seat in the near future after McLaren CEO Ron Dennis warned rivals that the Belgian racer is not for sale.

That, though, does not necessarily mean it will be next season or that his first year racing in F1 will be with McLaren.

Alonso is the only driver on the pay role with a firm contract for a 2017 race-seat, but even his future is not set in stone, while Button has been linked to a return to Williams.

For now, though, Boullier insists McLaren are not focusing on next year’s drivers.

“No, absolutely nothing,” the Racing Director told ESPN when asked if McLaren had begun discussions over next year’s line-up.

“We have not started discussing anything with any drivers. It’s too early in the season so it would be too distracting for the team.”

Asked if he was keeping his current drivers ‘on their toes’, he responded: “Exactly. It’s part of the game.”