Mercedes have confirmed they are considering McLaren's Fernando Alonso as Nico Rosberg's replacement. Rosberg shocked the F1 world on Friday (2 December) when he announced his sudden retirement just five days on from winning his first Drivers' Championship ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Alonso has been touted as an early favourite for the vacant role, a move that would reunite him with Hamilton. The pair shared a somewhat tempestuous partnership in 2007 at McLaren.
The Spaniard is entering the final year of his current contract with McLaren, but Mercedes chief Toto Wolff says he is an option being considered by the German manufacturer.
"He is a driver I respect a lot. He combines talent, speed and experience. It's all there," Wolff told Sky Sports.
"But he is in a contract with McLaren-Honda at the moment and we just need to weigh all the other options up."
While Mercedes may be keen to enlist one of the grid's strongest drivers to replace Rosberg, McLaren are "not worried" about losing the two-time world champion.
McLaren's executive director Zak Brown told Sky Sports: "We have a contract with Fernando and he is very happy. He wants to be winning races, as do we, but I am not worried about that scenario."
Brown added there is no break-option in Alonso's current three-year deal, which he signed in 2015. "He has a straight three-year deal with us, with no options. It is as simple as that. That is what we wanted to offer him, and that's what he wanted to sign."
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel is another name in the mix. The four-time world champion failed to win a single race with Ferrari last season but insists he is not an option to partner Hamilton next year.
"Kimi [Raikkonen] and myself both have a contract [with Ferrari] for next year so it should be clear," Vettel was quoted as saying by The Mirror when asked if there had been contact from Mercedes.
"A lot of things are happening but for us it is rather quiet which is a good sign. We are focusing on our job that we have, which is a lot of work for next year."