McLaren are keeping a close eye on Lewis Hamilton’s contract developments at Mercedes and chief executive Zak Brown admits he would be interested in offering the four-time champion a second chapter at the British team.

Hamilton, 33, is entering the final year of his Mercedes’ deal, and while Formula One’s reigning constructors’ champions are confident he will re-sign for a further two seasons, the lack of any formal announcement has put McLaren on alert.

Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff recently said talks over a new contract are “positive and ongoing”.

Hamilton, who joined Mercedes from McLaren in 2013, has a romantic history with the British team. He signed for them when he was only 13 before winning his maiden world championship in 2008. A decade on, Hamilton’s triumph remains the last time a driver won the title in a McLaren car.

The team from Woking have endured a torrid recent few years, but they hope to be fighting towards the front in 2018 after dropping beleaguered engine partner Honda and teaming up with Renault.

“If anyone got Lewis, it would be great for the team,” American Brown said. “He has a great history here at McLaren, and he is very friendly with the shareholders.

“We are happy with our line-up, but if something happened to take one or two of those drivers out of play, then of course someone like Lewis has his history here.

Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton celebrates a British Grand Prix win for McLaren (Rui Vieira/PA)

“He is an unbelievable driver. There isn’t a team in the pit lane that would not be interested in having Lewis drive for them, us included.”

Fernando Alonso quit McLaren after just one season back in 2006 following his acrimonious fall-out with Hamilton and the team’s former overlord Ron Dennis.

But the two-time world champion, now in the fourth year of his second spell at McLaren, would be open to having Hamilton race alongside him.

“Fernando would race anybody,” Brown said. “I have never had a single conversation with Fernando about anything other than himself. Fernando would have anyone as his team-mate.”

Hamilton, who is bidding to win a remarkable fifth title this season, has experienced recent controversy, sparked by comments he made about his nephew on Instagram before a complete purge of content on his social media accounts.

He also failed to turn up for his opening Mercedes sponsorship commitment of the year through illness, and has kept a relatively low profile so far in 2018.

“Toto and (Mercedes’ non-executive chairman) Niki Lauda do a great job in managing Lewis,” Brown added. “If you look at all the great world champions – Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell – they were not easy to manage.

“You need to get them in a good frame of mind to get the most out of them and Lewis also seems to be someone you have to manage in the right way.”

Hamilton is due to take the wraps off his new Mercedes at Silverstone later this month before opening the defence of his title on March 25 in Melbourne.