Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has confirmed that the team will target Fernando Alonso, if they fail to agree a contract with Lewis Hamilton for the 2016 F1 season.
The Briton is contracted to the team for the upcoming season, but has yet to agree to a new deal for beyond next season, despite both the parties suggesting that they would like to continue together.
Hamilton had revealed following his title triumph at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that a new contract was a mere formality and he expected that the revised deal be similar to the one he currently holds with Mercedes.
However, the Mercedes boss says that there is no rush to sign a new deal and they will discuss more on the new contract during the year.
Wolff is confident of reaching an agreement with the former McLaren driver but has made it clear that Spaniard Alonso is his first alternative if a deal cannot be reached.
"There's no hurry, it will be discussed during the year," Wolff said, as quoted by ESPN F1.
"I am optimistic [of reaching a deal with Hamilton], the priority is to continue with these two drivers. But if it's not possible, Alonso is the first alternative. Then there is [Valtteri] Bottas," the Mercedes chief added.
Alonso, who left Ferrari at the end of the season to sign for McLaren for the 2015 campaign is regarded as the most complete driver currently on the grid. And the Mercedes boss is sure that he will improve the Woking-based team's competitiveness.
"He's a dangerous threat in any car. If you have in your hands a car that will finish sixth, he will finish in third place," Wolff concluded.