McLaren in no rush to name Alonso successor

Mon, 5 November 2007, 08:38

McLaren-Mercedes is in no rush to name a replacement for departed race driver Fernando Alonso, according to team chiefs.

Norbert Haug, who is Mercedes’ sporting chief, told reporters at the ‘Stars and Cars’ event in Stuttgart at the weekend that there is “no time frame” to sign a 2008 teammate for championship runner-up Lewis Hamilton.

The German however said it would “make sense” to have a complete driver line up in time for the resumption of testing later this month.

But he noted that at the same time one year ago, “we had not announced Hamilton”.

Amid increasing speculation about the identity of Hamilton’s new teammate, Haug said the successful candidate needs to be “quick and inexpensive”.

He also played down reports that Nico Rosberg, Adrian Sutil and Heikki Kovalainen are all clamouring at the top of the McLaren short-list.

“It is obvious that German journalists speculate about German drivers, and likewise for the Finns,” Haug, a former journalist, added.

“Clearly we have a list with some names on it. This is true, but there are not many (names),” he added.

McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh backs Haug’s view that there is no rush to complete the team’s 2008 line up.

“In truth I think we’re rather dictating the driver transfer market at the moment,” he told the Guardian newspaper.

“Until the second McLaren drive is sorted out I don’t think you’ll see much movement, so we’re not really hurried.”

The British newspaper also revealed that Ralf Schumacher’s management recently approached McLaren about the drive, “but it was quickly made clear he would not be on the list”.

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