McLaren will open contract talks with Fernando Alonso in the early stages of the 2017 campaign.
The two-time world champion is out of contract at the end of the season and executive director Zak Brown has confirmed McLaren hope to convince Alonso to stay on.
The Spaniard returned to McLaren ahead of the 2015 season and he is yet to finish on the podium since making the switch from Ferrari.
Alonso has indicated he will consider his future if McLaren are unable to provide him with a competitive car.
The Woking-based outfit are hopeful the new regulations brought in for the 2017 season will allow them to close the gap on the likes of Mercedes, Red Bull and the Scuderia, and Brown is optimistic Alonso will agree fresh terms at McLaren.
“He’s definitely committed to the project, but his contract is up and he’s in high demand as you can imagine,” Brown told NBC Sports.
“[Ferrari’s Sebastian] Vettel’s out of contract next year [too], that’s my understanding. So as you can imagine, next year’s going to be an exciting driver market.
“Obviously we’d love to keep him. He’s one of the greatest drivers on the track, if not the best.
“But we’re just going to see how things go and kick off those conversations a few races into the year.”
Alonso is 33/1 to win the Drivers’ Championship next season and Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton can be backed at 6/5.