McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says that the Woking-based team is planning a long-term driver line-up, and admits that he understands why Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen may feel uncomfortable about the current uncertainty.
McLaren is currently in fifth place in the Constructors' championship but next season will see the return of Honda as an engine supplier, a move which is likely to influence the team's driver pairing.
Button has been with the team since 2010 while rookie Magnussen claimed a podium on his debut in Australia; the duo remain the primary contenders for the seats but it is understood that McLaren is still chasing Fernando Alonso, while GP2 driver Stoffel Vandoorne remains a possibility.
"We are working on the strategy for the driver line-up for the next years," said Boullier during a McLaren phone-in. "For me it's important to say ‘years’ because we are looking for three years and maybe five years. It's true that with [CEO] Ron [Dennis] being back since January and me being new in to the team we have asked for a little bit more time than necessary, but we can afford this time, even if it is uncomfortable for the drivers, which I understand. We have to put our priorities [first]."
Despite the hesitancy in his 2015 driver pairing, Boullier praised the efforts of Button and Magnussen so far this year.
"They have performed better than we could have expected," he added.
"First of all we didn't give them a good enough car, and of course the worse the car is, the more difficult it is to drive. We are now trying to bring performance as fast as we can.
"In terms of driving I think both drivers have done a very good job.
"Kevin had a podium in the first race and then obviously went through a few experiences which are part of the learning process. In the case of Jenson, he is super professional and has delivered everything he could out of the car."