McLaren set to announce 2015 drivers

Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:07pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - McLaren are set to announce the return of Fernando Alonso at a news conference on Thursday with British media tipping the Formula One team to retain Jenson Button in a lineup of champions.

The team, who are starting a new partnership with Honda and have yet to announce a title sponsor, invited reporters to their Woking headquarters for "an important and exclusive media event".

No details were given but the move was widely interpreted as evidence a driver decision had finally been reached after a board meeting last week ended without news.

Button's future has been the big question for months, with the 34-year-old Briton out of contract and McLaren the only team yet to name their drivers.

One is sure to be Spain's double world champion Alonso, already replaced at Ferrari by four times title-holder Sebastian Vettel, whose return has yet to be confirmed officially by McLaren despite being an open secret.

Spanish media, who last month quoted the King of Spain as saying Alonso had told him he was joining McLaren, had no doubt the announcement was imminent.

Alonso spent one turbulent season at McLaren in 2007 before leaving following a breakdown in relations with then principal Ron Dennis, who is now overall group head.

The Spaniard's team mate has looked a straight choice between Button, the sport's most experienced current driver, and Danish youngster Kevin Magnussen, who formed this year's pairing.   Continued...

McLaren Formula One driver Jenson Button of Britain is interviewed outside his team hospitality suite at the paddock area of Singapore F1 Grand Prix in Singapore September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Tim Chong