McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says it is the British team’s intention to retain Jenson Button next season.
For the second consecutive year Button, the 2009 world champion, faces an uncertain future at McLaren.
Kevin Magnussen, forced sideways are one year following Fernando Alonso’s arrival and Stoffel Vandoorne, the runaway leader in Formula One’s feeder series GP2, are both reported to be under consideration for his seat.
But Boullier, speaking from Monza, dropped the biggest hint so far that Button could be handed a seventh campaign with McLaren - and the 17th season of his grand prix career.
“As far as we are concerned, at McLaren, we only have two cars, so there will be only two race seats,” Boullier said.
“We have two world champions today and we do intend to keep them, so far. Nevertheless it is a luxury problem to have four good drivers.
“Kevin and Stoffel are very good drivers, but if we can’t fit or accommodate them at home we will do our best to make sure they can race next year.”
Button, in the midst of his worst-ever campaign, is enduring another painful weekend here in Italy.
He completed only three laps in second practice on Friday due to a technical glitch and he has already been handed a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race following changes to his Honda engine.
The Englishman finished Saturday morning’s final practice session in 14th.