McLaren Formula 1 racing director Eric Boullier believes it is evident that Fernando Alonso wants to remain with the team for the 2018 season as the Spaniard continues to mull over his future.

McLaren announced last weekend in Singapore it would be cutting ties with ailing engine partner Honda at the end of the season, linking up with Renault for 2018.

The decision is expected to aid its bid to keep two-time world champion Alonso on-board, with his contract expiring at the end of the season, having long stated his ambition to return to the front of the pack next season.

When asked in an interview with the official F1 website how close McLaren was to re-signing Alonso for 2018, Boullier said it was “very close”.

“Fernando wants to stay. You can see it in his body language and the way he speaks,” he added.

“There are marketing details that have to be sorted out and that Zak [Brown] is working on.

“He is only interested – and he’s been saying this for months – in a competitive car. That is for him. For us – McLaren – we are happy that the shareholders have made a sporting choice and not a business choice and changed the engine.

“McLaren’s DNA is to be competitive – the team has always been in the top three and we belong there again.

“Today we know that we have a decent chassis, which would allow us to be in the top three again with an equal level engine, so for us as a business it is important to be competitive, no matter what role Fernando plays. We had to make this decision for us.

“But if you want to be competitive you not only need an engine, you also need a driver. That is when Fernando comes into the picture.

“We did what we did for McLaren first, but the package includes also the driver.”