Fernando Alonso says he supports McLaren's 'intention' to retain team-mate Jenson Button for the 2016 Formula 1 season, saying his experience has been an asset for himself and the team.
Whilst Alonso is contracted to McLaren for 2016, the identity of his team-mate remains a question mark, with the team currently evaluating its options of either retaining Button, giving former driver Kevin Magnussen a return or promoting protégé and GP2 champion-elect Stoffel Vandoorne.
However, though McLaren has remained fairly coy on the subject, it did give the clearest indication yet at Monza by stating that it 'intends' to keep the same driver line-up, though Button was later quoted as saying it doesn't necessarily mean he will re-sign.
From Alonso's perspective, the two-time champion remains relatively relaxed about who will partner him in 2016, but suggests the experience of Button makes him the more worthwhile candidate at this point in the McLaren-Honda's development.
“McLaren will make the decision they think is best for the team and hopefully they will do it before Christmas time,” he joked, referencing last year's prolonged decision-making process.
“I think Jenson has been quite good all season and we have been working together very closely to help the team. The experience Jenson comes with has been very important for the upgrades that we have brought to the car, so if Jenson stays I think it will be a good thing for the team.”
Indeed, though Alonso has endured some fractious team-mate relationships over time, he says he has benefitted from having 2009 F1 champion Button alongside him.
“If they decide they need to change something, there will be some advantages and disadvantages. The only thing I know for sure is working with Jenson has been very productive for the team and myself also learning a lot of things.”
As well as hinting towards Button, McLaren suggested it is less likely to give the drive to Magnussen, saying it won't stand in his way if he wishes to drive for another team.