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McLaren star driver Fernando Alonso has said many times this season that he will only sign for a team that has what it takes to challenge for the title and while his current team has confessed to not being able to match these demands by 2018, they will still do “everything they can” to convince the Spaniard to stay.

It seems like a rather tough task given the plethora of problems McLaren-Honda have had since forming partnership and the overall lack of power that the MCL32 possesses.

But, the team are going to fight to keep hold of the Spaniard for next season.

“If I put my personal colors to the mast, I’d love to have Fernando in this team,” McLaren COO Neale told motorsport.com.

“I know we’ll do everything we can to keep him in this team but I recognize he will have choices – nothing is a given. I think he’s a great guy, he’s one of the best drivers I have ever worked with and I’d love to have him for longer.”

Neale also said that he is happy about the progress McLaren are already making for next year as they ponder a change in engine supplier.

He added: “I’m encouraged about McLaren’s future

“A lot has happened over the last 12 months. We’re ready to take that next step for McLaren. Our thoughts are starting to turn to next year’s car and what that is going to look like.”

“Of course the engine stuff is in that mix. We need to land all of that in and before the September timescale so our drivers know who we are going to be and what their plans are going to be.

“No firm decisions have been made. We’re in lots of dialogue with Honda. We’re keeping the FIA and FOM close to what is going on. We are trying to do the right thing for F1 but also try to do the right thing for McLaren.”

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