McLaren would welcome Hamilton back

McLaren would welcome Hamilton back

A number of plans have been met with discomfort by Ferrari and Mercedes, F1's leading two teams and manufacturers, and while Brown understands their defensive nature given their existing standing, he stressed that Liberty must put the sport and its fans first instead of bowing to any pressure it may face. I can't imagine it's money or the quality of the team.

And the 28-year-old has seemed to suggest he could move to Mercedes, revealing he wants to go head-to-head with current world champion Lewis Hamilton.

"We've got a chance to course-correct with 2021, but we need to do that now because I think Formula 1 will be much more entertaining and therefore more valuable to all of us if we have four, five, six teams winning races, that have a chance at a championship".

Despite a tough (ish) debut season with the German team, during which he scored just one win - Mercedes fourth since its return to the sport as a constructor in 2010 - since the introduction of the new engine formula a year later he has never looked back, winning three further titles and finishing runner-up to his teammate in 2016.

Hamilton's future in the sport has been debated, with the record pole-sitter citing a desire to go into a new career once he retires from racing, something Brown believes will be key to when he decides to hang up his helmet. "That will make the championship more entertaining than it is today". "So on one hand I understand why they'd want to protect that position. Yeah, that would be fun!"

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'He might be wanting to see how this year goes. That would be my speculation. Mercedes are not going to sell the seat from underneath him'.

"We might find they actually have signed and are just not telling us".

McLaren are the second most successful team but have not won a race since 2012 and finished ninth of 10 teams last year, splitting with Honda and starting a new partnership with Renault.

As well as Ricciardo, Hamilton himself is also out of contract at the end of 2018, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff recently stating that good progress had been made in talks over the winter.

Alonso wants to win the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race in France as part of the "triple crown of motorsport" achieved only by the late Briton Graham Hill.