McLaren executive director Zak Brown is confident keeping Fernando Alonso with its Formula 1 project for 2018, but has a 'plan B' in place should the Spaniard reject a new deal.

McLaren announced on Friday it would be splitting with engine partner Honda after three difficult years, with Alonso making his frustration over the team's lack of performance known on a regular basis.

With a Renault engine deal sewn up for 2018, McLaren is now turning its attention to Alonso, who is out of contract at the end of the season and still considering his options for next year.

Brown is happy with how talks are progressing, believing that Alonso is happy with the work the team is doing and its direction.

"We are very close with Fernando. We had dinner last night – a midnight snack or whatever time that was – and he’s very happy with the direction of the team and the team in general," Brown said.

"He’s one of the highest paid drivers in the sport and for us to retain him, he will continue to be one of the highest paid drivers in the sport."

When asked what McLaren would do if Alonso did not re-sign, Brown confirmed there was a back-up plan in place.

"We’ve got plan B which I’m not going to talk about in place, but I’m confident that we’re going to get there with Fernando," Brown said, despite conceding there was a lack of big names available.

"No, but you know what this sport is like. You can sometimes move some pieces around," he added.


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