McLaren backs away from title sponsor announcement

(GMM) The heat of the 2014 'silly season' is now squarely on McLaren, amid rumors the British team has decided to replace Sergio Perez with rookie Kevin Magnussen.

From a commercial point of view, the shift of focus on the driver side would be interesting — it was believed Mexican Perez's arrival at Woking would precede by a year his backer, Telmex, succeeding Vodafone as the title sponsor.

Indeed, an announcement of Vodafone's unnamed successor had already been scheduled by McLaren for December 2.

Coming a week after this month's Brazil season finale, many thought that date had been chosen so as not to interfere with the currently Telmex-backed Sauber's racing season.

But, suddenly, that date may no longer be relevant, according to McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

When asked about the December 2 announcement by reporters this week, he said: "There will be some new sponsors, but I think probably – and I don't know because I haven't talked to our PR function – there will be more of a fanfare at the car launch rather than an announcement on December 2."

McLaren's 2014 car will likely be revealed shortly before winter testing in January.

"My own view is that (by announcing on December 2) we would be taking away from what I hope will be an exciting car launch next year, but we will see," said Whitmarsh.

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