Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug believes that dissatisfied double world champion Fernando Alonso will be back at McLaren next season, despite the Spaniard being mentioned in the same breath as various seats up and down the grid.

While few of the vacancies will be of interest to Alonso, there are a couple that may, although his hand was weakened on Tuesday when BMW Sauber finally confirmed that Nick Heidfeld would remain on board to partner Mario Theissen's prot?g? Robert Kubica for a second year. With another Theissen discovery, Sebastien Vettel, having been 'loaned' to Scuderia Toro Rosso for 2008, the final seat at Hinwil looked certain to go to Heidfeld - as many believed it should given the German's 2007 performances - but rumours persist that Theissen was holding out for an answer from Alonso following the Spaniard's post-Hungaroring outburst claiming that he wanted away from McLaren.

According to the Spanish media, however, Alonso rejected BMW's advances after assessing that the team would not be in a position to allow him to challenge for titles for another couple of years, at least, leaving Theissen to confirm Heidfeld alongside Kubica for 2008.

Although he has made clear his disappointment at the situation involving himself and Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, Alonso has two more years to run on his current contract - despite stories suggesting that the team would not fight to keep him on board if it meant continued disharmony at Woking. The options for his exit are narrowing, however, with realistically on Ferrari expected to be high enough up the pecking order to entice the Asturian.

That, however, would require the Scuderia to release - or demote - either Felipe Massa or Kimi Raikkonen. After a strong start to the year, the Brazilian's light has faded somewhat in recent races, while Raikkonen has moved in the opposite direction but, according to many, has yet to show the ability to replace Michael Schumacher as the Prancing Horse's title contender. It is Massa who is most likely to be dropped to make way for Alonso, however, and even though that would throw up the enticing prospect of the Spaniard going head-to-head with Raikkonen in equal - or at least similar - machinery, it also carries the possibility of further unrest between two of F1's biggest hitters.

Haug, however, insists that McLaren's champion is going nowhere.

"There is a contract," he stressed to as.com, "And, in Hungary, Alonso verbally confirmed that he intends to comply with it. The rivalry between Fernando and Lewis is positive, even if, in Hungary, it did not appear that way."

Alonso has also been mentioned in connection with a return to Renault, but Flavio Briatore is still expected to announce a pairing permed from the three options of Giancarlo Fisichella, Heikki Kovalainen and Nelson Piquet Jr when the F1 circus arrives at Monza next month.