Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Fernando Alonso must be considered among the potential replacements for Nico Rosberg next year.
Rosberg's surprise retirement announcement on Friday leaves Mercedes with a limited amount of time to find a new teammate for Lewis Hamilton. Senior team members met at the team's factory in Brackley on Monday to discuss the decision, but with most the grid already under contract for 2017 their options could be limited.
Alonso has one more year to run on his current McLaren deal, but has made no secret of his desire to return to a winning car before the end of his career. He was teammates with Hamilton at McLaren for one explosive season in 2007 before the resulting fallout saw Alonso leave the team at the end of the year.
The prospect of managing the two drivers is thought to be too risky for Mercedes, but speaking in an interview with Sky Sports at the team's factory on Monday, Wolff did not rule out a bid for the Spaniard.
"You have to consider Fernando," Wolff said. "He is a driver I respect a lot. He combines talent, speed and experience. It's all there.
"But he is in a contract with McLaren-Honda at the moment and we just need to weigh all the other options up."
However, McLaren executive director Zak Brown is confident his star driver is not going anywhere next year.
"We have a contract with Fernando and he is very happy," he told Sky Sports. "Obviously he wants to be winning races, as do we, but I am not worried about that scenario. We are very comfortable where we are at."