Fernando Alonso
McLaren are keen to tempt Fernando Alonso back to the team. [Reuters]

McLaren are hoping to persuade Fernando Alonso to rejoin them next season after making the Ferrari driver their number one target.

The Spaniard is said to be unsettled at Ferrari and McLaren are hoping to take advantage of that fact by offering him the chance to return to the team he last drove for in 2007.

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh was asked whether he would be interested in signing the double world champion and it seems he would welcome him back with open arms.

"Yes, if I could, "responded Whitmarsh, talking to Sky Sports. "Most teams up and down the pitlane would happily sign Fernando Alonso, he's a very talented driver.

"I expect our driver line up for next year to stay the same but we are open to anything and in the long-term he would be a great asset. Fernando is in charge of his own destiny, but we'll see."

Alsono's contract with Ferrari does not expire until 2016 but it seems McLaren would like the Spanish driver to replace Sergio Perez who has struggled throughout the season.

With Jenson Button under contract, Perez may well be sacrificed if McLaren can somehow persuade Alonso to return.

There are already set to be major changes at the Italian team next season with Kimi Raikkonen confirmed as a driver from next season.

Alonso was said that he was pleased with the Finn joining the team but it is unlikely that Raikkonen would be prepared to play the same supporting role that Felipe Massa had performed for the last four seasons.

"It's wrong for me to comment on what's going on in Ferrari but people were surprised with the recruitment of Kimi, not because Kimi isn't massively talented or through surprise that Kimi would want to go to Ferrari, and one can see that it is an exciting line-up, but whether it is a sustainable line-up I don't know," added Whitmarsh

"Let's be frank, people want to sign Fernando Alonso because he is one of the best motor-racing drivers in the world at the moment. He is an asset to any team.

"In all probability, we will have the same line-up next year. Being realistic that's what I think will happen, but we'll see."

It would perhaps be a shock to see Alonso back at McLaren after he spectacularly fell out with the team back in 2007 when he was teammate with Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso was angry at team principal Ron Dennis who had reportedly told him he would be given priority ahead of Hamilton, however, this was not to be the case and he would end up losing the title by one point to Raikkonen.