Managing director Jonathan Neale has revealed that McLaren is moving closer to a new deal to retain the services of Lewis Hamilton for the 2013 season.
Hamilton has been with McLaren since making his debut in F1 back in 2007, having also been guided by the Woking-based team as he made progress through the junior formulae.
The 2008 title winner is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with roles elsewhere, although both parties have expressed a desire to extend the relationship – with Neale revealing that discussions were going well.
"Very much so," he told Sky Sports News
when asked if both sides wanted a new deal. "We are closer and of course we are in dialogue. For obvious reasons I can't speculate more at the moment. We are working very hard to find a common ground."
Hamilton is currently sitting fourth in the standings, but Neale said he was sure the 2008 title winner could close down the 47 point lead that Fernando Alonso has over him in the title race.
"Mathematically it is still possible, 25 points for a win and it doesn't take much to switch those," he said. "We have got a quick car. Our car was in better shape than Ferrari at the last race. He is a fighter, he loves a challenge. He just needs a sniff of it and to feel that the team is behind him and pushing.
"I think if he feels we are pushing and bring the upgrades and dealing with the issues as they arise then he will be fighting for the title at the end of the season."