McLaren supremo Ron Dennis is furious, but team boss Eric Boullier admitted this week that the Woking based outfit needs to plan ahead for a future without the highly-rated aerodynamicist.
"We have to deal without him today so we have to consider all of the scenarios," the Frenchman told reporters.
"We also have to consider the scenario that he will never be back or he will never join us, so we are implementing what we have to do and we have already," Boullier added.
He hinted that the appointment would be made from outside the team, but when asked when an announcement is due, Boullier joked: "When we are sure that they have arrived in the morning!"
Boullier also insisted that, after four races of sponsor-swapping on the 2014 car's sidepods so far this season, negotiations are on track for a full-time title sponsor.
"The plan Ron discussed is happening," he said.
"But until we have signed the final contract, nothing will be announced or changed. As long as we are in that position we will keep going with what we are doing now," added Boullier.
Early in 2014, McLaren looked to have put its competitive crisis of last year in the past, but the team was notably off the pace last time out in China.
Boullier denied that the team is prepared to simply tread water in 2014 before the highly-anticipated arrival of works engine partner Honda.
"2014 should be a benchmark year for us," he insisted. "It should be seen as a year of rebuilding a winning team."