SAO PAULO (AP) The fates of former champions Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button remain in doubt with the Formula One season nearly over and teams holding off on announcing their lineups for 2015.
Speculation about driver moves are not uncommon late in the season, but this time two of the series’ greatest stars and some of its biggest teams are involved in the rumors, igniting doubts over much of the grid.
Four-time champion Vettel is leaving Red Bull but hasn’t said where he’s going, two-time champ Alonso is undecided about whether he will stay at Ferrari, and one-time champ Button still hasn’t been told whether he will keep his place at McLaren.
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The other drivers yet to secure a seat for next year can only wait.
It’s expected that Vettel will join Ferrari, and Alonso will move to McLaren, but there’s been no official announcement by the teams or the drivers in Sao Paulo this week for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
”There’s nothing new, nothing has been decided,” Alonso said. ”I’m still considering what’s the best decision for my career.”
If Alonso ends up with McLaren, either Button or Kevin Magnussen will lose a seat at the British team.
”I can only say I hope (to stay),” Magnussen said. ”I understand why I’ve not been told yet. Some things are still not sorted out from their side, and if they could let me know, they would. I can only just wait and see what happens.”
Button, the F1 champion with Brawn in 2009, said he was not frustrated by the team’s delay.
”There are many things to be disappointed about in the sport. If you don’t have a quick car, you are disappointed. For me, that hurts more than anything else,” he said. ”A late call on who’s going to be in the car next year? Initially, I guess, it’s a strange situation, but after a while you get used to it.”
Button said he expects McLaren to make a decision within the next two weeks, but said he was not going to rush on anything.
”We are very good at driving a racing car, but we are not very good when it comes to contracts,” he said. ”When you are put in this position that many drivers have been over the years, not being sure if your contract is going to be renewed, it opens your eyes to different challenges, to different possibilities. F1 and motor racing is a massive part of my life, and it’s not going to stop, it will continue. But right now I don’t know where that’s going to be.”
He said he’s not thinking about retiring just yet, and admits he may not stay with McLaren even if the team decides it wants to keep him.
”If I’m in Formula One, I want to be winning. I’ve done enough of not winning since I won the world championship,” Button said. ”I have no interest in racing in Formula One unless I’m challenging right at the front. I’m not here just to race 20 races and collect points.”
Some drivers already know that they are out of a job, which is the case for German driver Adrian Sutil. Sauber on Wednesday announced that Brazilian Felipe Nasr will be taking over the team’s last seat for 2015.
Sutil hinted he was disappointed with the team’s move as he still had a year left on his contract. Nasr arrived thanks in part to huge backing from a Brazilian sponsor.
”They confirmed two drivers but that doesn’t mean the drivers can drive and it doesn’t mean that the team’s going to drive,” Sutil said. ”So there’s no real change from last weekend to this weekend. It’s just an announcement. I have to do some talking, to sort out the things.”