Merc will target Alonso if Hamilton deal falls through
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Fernando Alonso would be his main target if he cannot agree terms on a new contract with Lewis Hamilton for 2016.
Hamilton's current contract is set to expire at the end of the year although both sides have expressed a desire to continue together in 2016. Negotiations were put on hold during 2014 in order to allow Hamilton to concentrate on the championship and Wolff says there is still no rush to sign a deal just yet in 2015.
"There's no hurry, it will be discussed during the year," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
However, Hamilton is likely to want more from his new contract while Wolff has talked about doing what is best for Mercedes. Asked what would happen if an agreement could not be reached, Wolff admitted Alonso would be the first alternative.
"I am optimistic [of reaching a deal with Hamilton], the priority is to continue with these two drivers. But if it's not possible, Alonso is the first alternative. Then there is [Valtteri] Bottas".
Alonso has signed for McLaren for 2015 and Wolff is expecting the Spaniard to up the team's competitiveness.
"He's a dangerous threat in any car. If you have in your hands a car that will finish sixth, he will finish in third place."