McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe says he would like to see the team field an unchanged driver line-up for the 2013 F1 season.
While Jenson Button has a contract in place for next year, Lewis Hamilton's future is less clear with the 2008 title winner being widely linked with a move to Mercedes when his current deal expires at the end of the year.
However, speaking in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, Lowe said he was keen to try and retain the services of both drivers for next season, with the design of the 2013 car going ahead with the assumption that Button and Hamilton will be the men at the wheel.
"We've got two fantastic drivers in Lewis and Jenson, we're very, very keen to keep them and it is our assumption," he said. "They are the drivers that we assume that we'll be fielding next year and that's how we're working it in to the design of the car for next year."
While working on the new car, McLaren is also focused on trying to secure championship glory through the remaining seven races of 2012 and Lowe said the team was keen to build on its recent strong qualifying form to extend a run that has seen it win the last three races.
“It's interesting that there is a trend about being able to control the car and the tyres much better if you are leading from the front than if you aren't,” he said. “So we've certainly noticed it and it may cause us to do some things differently.
“We can influence the difference in race and qualifying pace in a few areas. In most areas we can't. In the areas we can we tend to make calculations as to how we weight that in priority between the two. Recent statistics kind of show that weighting (towards qualifying) has perhaps been stronger than we - or most people - appreciated.
“We are in the great position that we can qualify well at the moment. That is proving to be a strong benefit relative to our race pace, which is relatively weaker. Last year the opposite was the case where we had very strong race pace, which made it very tough.”