At the very least, the British team and its new works partner Honda are undoubtedly on the lookout for a top driver to spearhead the 2015 project.
Even boss Eric Boullier admits the protracted deliberations are unusual for McLaren.
"We are working on the strategy for the driver lineup for the next years," he told reporters on Tuesday.
"For me it's important to say 'years' because we are looking for three years and maybe five years."
Boullier admitted the delay is "uncomfortable" for both Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button.
The five-year plan might make Button, the 2009 world champion, particularly nervous, as he will be 35 when the 2015 season begins.
Seven time world champion and F1 legend Michael Schumacher first retired at the age of 37, and when he returned at 41 most insiders reckoned his best days were past him.
The wilder speculation suggests McLaren could be holding out for a disgruntled former champion like Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel.
Romain Grosjean and Valtteri Bottas have also been linked with the Woking based team, although Speed Week thinks Williams' Finn has essentially already signed on to stay with Williams in 2015.
"It's an unusual situation, yes," Button acknowledged, "but sometimes it's that way."
Minardi's theory, based on a Japanese source, is that Honda is pushing hard to bring not only Vettel to McLaren, but also his similarly-disgruntled Red Bull designer Adrian Newey.
On his website, Minardi claimed Bernie Ecclestone and Vettel met to discuss the possibility in Belgium, as the F1 supremo is close to the German and always keen to spread the best drivers across the top teams.
In Russia this week to drive the new Sochi layout in a road car, Vettel was asked if Newey's plans to step back at Red Bull affect his own plans for the future.
"No, I don't think so," the quadruple world champion answered, according to Speed Week.
"Adrian is a very ambitious man, and even if he says he wants to take things a little quieter, I believe - in a situation like now with Red Bull Racing - if we go back to the top, then his motivation will be restored.
"The enthusiasm for racing is simply in his nature -- and he cannot bear to lose!"
Vettel made 'many mistakes' in 2014 - Webber
Mark Webber's honest clarity has been missed from the formula one paddock in 2014.
Amid the typical PR-speak, the Australian - having left Red Bull and the paddock for semi-retirement and Le Mans - was always relied upon for a blunt assessment.
On his former teammate Sebastian Vettel's troubled 2014 season, for instance, Webber told Austrian broadcaster Servus TV this week: "Vettel is having problems with the new rules.
"He has improved, but from the first race you could see he was making many mistakes," Webber added.
But Vettel himself, whilst not denying he made mistakes, thinks bad reliability has been the headline of his struggle in 2014.
At Spa, he even said it is "unfair" to directly compare him with Daniel Ricciardo this year, because the Australian has had a clear run with the sister RB10.
Now, Vettel tells German television RTL: "People see the raw result and have their opinion.
"But they don't always see what is really going on.
"We have had so many technical problems; burned up so many engines and wasted many components.
"Daniel has performed very strongly, there is no question," said the four-time world champion.
"But I think the races he won, we would have also been able to win if things had gone a bit differently."
For that reason, he said he is not beginning to question his own talent.
"It's not as if you forget how to drive over a winter and suddenly start doing everything wrong instead of everything right," said Vettel.
"The hunger is still there and I think we have a good chance to fight for the world championship if we position ourselves better."
Vettel to get another new chassis for Monza
Sebastian Vettel is set to drive his third new chassis of the 2014 season, after suffering more mysterious handling problems in Belgium last weekend.
As the extent of the reigning quadruple world champion's issues this year became clear, Red Bull had already given Vettel a new chassis for May's Spanish grand prix.
Now it was at Spa-Francorchamps, a race the 27-year-old won a year ago, that Vettel notably struggled for pace alongside his on-form teammate and 2014 Belgian GP winner Daniel Ricciardo.
"I can't explain why my car could not compete with Daniel's at this race," Vettel, referring to Spa, is quoted by Sport Bild.
"But there must be something. Both cars are identical and so they should have the same performance."
Team official Dr Helmut Marko agrees.
"It is not normal for Sebastian to lose so much time to Daniel," he is quoted by Auto Bild Motorsport.
"I can understand how frustrated he is, especially as his teammate won. We will build a new chassis for him as quickly as possible."
Meanwhile, Red Bull has confirmed reports Vettel's long-time race engineer Guillaume 'Rocky' Rocquelin has been promoted to chief engineer for 2015, as Adrian Newey takes a step back.
Vettel's new race engineer will be Gianpiero Lambiase, who is currently working with Sergio Perez at Force India.
"Seb has had a long chat with him (Lambiase) and they hit it off immediately," Marko said.
Button admits F1 retirement possible after 2014
Jenson Button has admitted for the first time that he might be forced to "retire" at the end of 2014.
As McLaren and Honda look ahead to their new works partnership beginning next year, it is clear the Woking based team is hoping to sign a truly top driver.
Disgruntled Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have been linked with the seat, but so too has Ferrari's frustrated Fernando Alonso.
The Telegraph claimed the Spaniard could make an enormous $32 million per year with McLaren, Honda and also his sponsor Santander pitching in.
Williams' Valtteri Bottas and the Eric Boullier-linked Romain Grosjean are also believed to have been considered by McLaren, so while the situation remains unclear, the future of 15-year F1 veteran Button hangs in the balance.
"We haven't sat down and talked about it," the 34-year-old Briton and 2009 world champion told the BBC.
"If I have to retire at the end of the season then so be it, but I feel I have so much more to give and I can't imagine life without motor sport and especially formula one," Button said.
Whitmarsh finally leaves McLaren
Martin Whitmarsh is no longer part of McLaren.
The Woking team's long-time chief was removed from office by returning chairman Ron Dennis before the season began, as Eric Boullier joined from Lotus.
But, despite his absence, Whitmarsh's future remained unclear.
As long ago as April, it was rumoured the Briton, having served 24 years at McLaren, could walk away from his contract with a $10 million payout.
It appears a deal has finally now been agreed.
A spokesman confirmed on Tuesday: "McLaren and Martin Whitmarsh have agreed amicably to part company".
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