McLaren Racing CEO Jost Capito has stated his intention to improve the current structure of the team and one of his earliest moves would be retaining double world champion Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard, whose contract expires at the end of 2017, previously hinted at joining Porsche, adding WEC to the list of alternatives drawn up by himself.
"If the car and the engine are good, and he enjoys the new rules, there is no reason why he shouldn't stay," said Capito.
"Fernando is a great asset for the team and we should do everything to keep him."
Seeking extension talks with Alonso is vital for McLaren which is facing a critical inner makeover. After the departure of Ron Dennis, put on gardening leave by fellow McLaren shareholders, and the arrival of Zak Brown, Capito has to deal with the structure Eric Boullier set up in the past two years.
The concept of a crossing engineering organisation involves Peter Prodromou, Tim Goss and Matt Morris but not a single figure is perceived as the head of the project.
The German refused to comment on the changes he would apply over such system but generally speaking he stated: "I had lots of talks with many employees from the cleaner to the racing director and I think I know what has to be done. Mainly there has to be a cultural change - it has to become more of a race team again. It's early to say that."
"It will not be a hierarchical staff. On the principle of hierarchy, we have to become leaner and not more complicated - and it will be maybe not a usual organisation, but very clear for everybody who is involved.
"The right people have to be in place but everybody has to be aware of his own responsibilities and accountability. The engineering team we have is fantastic, that I absolutely believe."
Compared to 2015, regarded as “annus horribilis” by former boss Ron Dennis, in 2016 McLaren-Honda has made a sizeable leap on power unit reliability and horsepower.
However, the historic pairing is not done with making progress. The new aero rules concerning 2017 have been prompted by McLaren, which is looking to exploit the regulation change to catch up against rivals from Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari.
The Woking-based team finished sixth in the constructors championship in 2016 determined to reach higher next season.
"I expect improvement on the car from McLaren and a big step from Honda on the engine," declared Capito. "It takes always a certain time to form a team with a new partner like this.
"McLaren and Honda were partners before [from 1988-92] but it was a long time ago. All new people are involved and it takes a while for Honda to understand how McLaren works and for McLaren to understand how Honda works. I think this is now achieved.
"It is a very good partnership and the Honda guys understand more what is needed from the chassis side and we understand more what is needed from the engine side as well.
"I expect really not just the improvement of each but also the improvement of the overall relationship. So one plus one is not two - it should be three."
by Beatrice Zamuner