McLaren will do all they can to retain the services of Fernando Alonso next season, the team's chief operating officer Jonathan Neale has said.
The 36-year-old has picked up a meagre 10 points so far this season and has not finished any higher than fifth since returning to McLaren in 2015, when he began his second stint with the Woking-based team.
Alonso, whose contract expires in 2018, has previously indicated he would make a decision on his future by September and Neale has insisted the British team will work hard to convince the Spaniard to extend his deal.
"If I put my personal colours to the mast, I'd love to have Fernando in this team," Neale was quoted as saying by Autosport.
"I know we'll do everything we can to keep him in this team but I recognise 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."
McLaren have not won a race since 2012 and have been beset by technical issues this season, with the Honda engines proving extremely fragile and unreliable. In June, executive director Zak Brown admitted patience was wearing thin within the team and hinted McLaren could end its partnership with the Japanese giant, which reportedly contributes as much as $100m to the team's budget.
Despite the team's issues, Alonso has earned praise for his performances this year and his sixth place in the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend was McLaren's best result of the season, prompting Neale to suggest the two-time world champion was driving as well as at any stage in his career.
"If you look at how hard it is to overtake in Hungary generally and then look at the move he made on [[Toro Rosso driver Carlos] Sainz - that was great," the two-time world champion said. "He tried a move the first time, he didn't quite make it stick but he got it the next time round. To do that safely and cleanly as he did is a great demonstration of his skill and fighting spirit."
While McLaren is understood to be evaluating his options for the future, Mercedes, who supplied engines to the team between 1995 and 2014, has made clear it will not provide engines to McLaren next season and Ferrari has followed suit.
However, Neale remains upbeat about future prospects, adding that McLaren, the second most successful Formula One team in terms of race wins, were ready to make the next step.
"A lot has happened over the last 12 months," he added. "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."
However, Neale said no firm decisions had been made yet.
"We're in lots of dialogue with Honda," he explained. "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.
"McLaren is a team we have a duty to put back at the front. The sport wants us back at the front. We want Fernando back at the front in the mix."
McLaren and Honda have failed to recreate the phenomenal partnership they enjoyed between 1983 and 1993, when Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna won a combined seven world championship titles.