McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh is interested in luring Fernando Alonso away from Ferrari and bringing him back to McLaren.
While Whitmarsh believes the current driver pairing of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez is likely to remain next season, neither has signed a contract for 2014, and Kimi Raikkonen’s move to Ferrari has created speculation of Alonso being unsettled and considering a move.
“Most teams up and down this pitlane would happily sign Fernando Alonso,” Whitemarsh said Friday in an interview with Sky Sports. “He’s a very talented driver.
“We are open to anything and in the longer term then he’d be a great asset. Fernando’s in control of his own destiny, but we’ll see.”
Alonso, who had one unhappy season with McLaren in 2007, is contracted until 2016 with Ferrari.
Whitmarsh is among many in F1 who saw the potential for trouble at Ferrari next season with a pairing of two world champions who are used to being No. 1 in their teams.
“People were surprised with the recruitment of Kimi, not because Kimi’s not massively talented or that he would want to go to Ferrari, but … whether it’s a sustainable driver line-up I don’t know.”
While neither Button nor Perez had finalized a contract for next season, it was expected both would remain next season before potential change in 2015 when Honda returns to the sport as McLaren’s engine supplier.
Whitmarsh said Button and Perez would be the likely driver pairing for next season.
“Being realistic, that’s what I think will happen,” he said. “But we’ll see.”