Alonso talks with Ferrari engineer Rob Smedley. (LAT photo)
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says his outfit is happy to hold back on a decision about its 2010 driver lineup because he believes the market will be blown wide open once Fernando Alonso's move to Ferrari is confirmed.
Heikki Kovalainen's future with McLaren is in doubt unless the Finn delivers an upturn in performance in the next few races -- but Whitmarsh insists there is no rush for his team to make a swift decision about what to do.
And he suspects that Alonso's 2010 Ferrari deal is done, with continued speculation there will be announcement confirming the move at the Italian Grand Prix.
"At the moment we have not, and we are not in any conversations with drivers and we will see in the future," Whitmarsh told the BBC about his team's driver plans going forward. "I think in reality there are some changes probably with Fernando at Ferrari. That frees up the driver market and every year there is a number of pivotal points during the season which determine what is going to happen in the driver market.
"This year I think we all know that the Fernando/Ferrari move has a knock-on and that ripples through the other teams.
"Clearly the BMW withdrawal has also had an impact. I think we don't see a need at the moment to rush into it, we are concentrating on developing the car and making sure we are more competitive, which I hope we will be this weekend."
Whitmarsh said the focus for Kovalainen's improvement was in producing more pace in the race, rather than speed in qualifying.
"I think Heikki is doing a great job as a team player. He is very, very popular in the team and he has done some great qualifying," he said.
"He knows and we know that he has got to a better job during the race. He has got to be more consistent with his race pace. So he is working hard to do that.
"We are not talking to any other drivers at the moment, we want to see Heikki be successful in this team but at the same time we are obliged to have as competitive drivers as we can, so he knows what he has got to do. He'll be working hard and who knows this weekend maybe he can do a good job."