McLaren want megastar for 2015, Alonso and Vettel among targets

Vettel & Alonso

McLaren want one of F1’s elite drivers in their team for their reunion with Honda next year.

The Woking-based squad have struggled in recent seasons, failing to record a podium in 2013 and only faring slightly better this term.

They will split with long-time engine suppliers Mercedes at the conclusion of this year, with Honda - who powered them to multiple titles in the eighties and nineties - returning to the sport. McLaren will also unveil a new title sponsor for 2015.

And the team are desperate to land one of F1’s big three to kick-start their new era, making Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton their chief targets for next season.

Alonso seems the most likely to be tempted to the team, despite his huge falling out with them in 2007. The 32-year-old has become increasingly disillusioned with life at Ferrari, who continue to struggle in their attempts to produce a winning car. Following his excellent drive in last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, Alonso admitted to being fed up with his underdog status as “It's been five years like this.”

The Spaniard’s Ferrari deal currently runs through the 2016 season, but the combination of Honda and a new title sponsor may pave the way for that to be bought out.

McLaren are also believed to be tentatively sounding out four-time world champion Vettel and, according to British newspaper the Telegraph, former driver Lewis Hamilton. The Brit was the last man to win a world title for McLaren, triumphing in 2008, but left for current employers Mercedes last year.

The future of McLaren’s current drivers, Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, is unclear. Both could be retained if no big-name replacement becomes available, but should they land Alonso one or both could be dropped. Button has enjoyed the better season thus far, scoring 43 points to the Dane’s 29, though rookie Magnussen has impressed on occasion and could be seen as better long-term bet than 34-year-old Button.