Jenson Button is set to be handed a fresh McLaren deal in the next few weeks, with the team ready to offer improved terms to keep the Briton on board.
Amid speculation that Ferrari is interested in tempting Button to Maranello to help bolster its own title challenge in the longer term, it is understood that McLaren is prepared to move quickly to tie Button's future down.
Button is currently only under option at McLaren for next year, with the activation clause on the team's side. That situation means that even if Button had tempting offers from elsewhere, he would be unable to move if McLaren wanted him to stay.
A simple take-up of that option is unlikely, though, with Button currently in brilliant form and both team and driver thinking of nothing other than a future together. Sources suggest that McLaren is prepared to improve the terms of the original deal to keep the 2009 World Champion happy.
Any likely improvement in the contract that Button gets as part of a fresh deal would likely be done in exchange for a lengthier deal, so there is a chance that he could commit his future at McLaren well beyond the end of 2012.
While Button appears to be edging closer to securing his place at McLaren, the future of Lewis Hamilton remains uncertain, with talks about his own contract not likely to start for several months yet. Hamilton has made it clear several times this year that he will be happy to stay at McLaren as long as it provides him with a competitive car.
Hamilton's frustration with the performance of his McLaren in qualifying in Canada – at a race where he had been expected to be on pole position – resulted in him making a surprise visit to Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner on Saturday night for private talks. Although there is no suggestion that was the start of contract discussions, the visit showed that Hamilton may be willing to consider options outside of McLaren if the team cannot provide him with a car that is capable of fighting for the title.
Despite his feelings on Saturday in Montreal, Hamilton may be more open to a future at McLaren after seeing teammate Button win in Canada – and witnessing further evidence that while Red Bull Racing has a qualifying advantage, it may be McLaren that has the fastest car in the races.
Of the current top teams, only Fernando Alonso at Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull Racing have committed themselves to their present squads for the long term.