Flavio Briatore has dashed the hopes of fans hoping for the mouth-watering prospect of Alonso joining Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton for the 2017 season. But could staying with McLaren actually pay bigger dividends in the long run? In a statement to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Alonso's manager [Briatore] asserted that the contract with McLaren is solid and that they will respect it. "People always think of Fernando when a top car is free, but we have a contract [with McLaren] and we will respect that.", said Briatore. Alonso last drove alongside Hamilton in 2007 at McLaren when the young Brit was just a rookie. What developed was a rivalry so deep and bitter that it very nearly caused a total team implosion after multiple on-track and off-track incidents. Despite Toto Wolff admitting that they [Mercedes] were seriously considering Fernando Alonso for the 2017 drive, the chaos and deep intra-team divisions seen at McLaren in the 2007 season is something he is keen to avoid at all costs. Given that Alonso looks to be staying on with McLaren - according to Briatore - could the Spaniard actually have a better chance of a title with the Woking outfit in the long run, rather than going up against Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes car that surely will be the favourite for the title in 2017, but will also have stiff competition from the likes of Red Bull and possibly even Ferrari? Why stay with McLaren? Well, for one, he has a contract. Breaking contracts never reflect well against the breaching party, unless the performance of the other end of the agreement is massively below par, which I don't believe McLaren have been, at least not this year. Secondly, Honda have made incredible progress in just three years of engine development. Teams such as Mercedes have been working on these complex hybrid power units for upwards of six years, so it's only natural that Honda are behind the ball in that respect. However, the amount of performance they have gained in such a short amount of time is truly staggering, even if they are only ever fighting over the lower end of the points, especially when you consider that they've been running sub-optimal engine layout configurations. Honda's F1 boss, Yusuke Hasegawa, has also stated that they will be moving to the accepted gold standard for power unit layout to mimic the "Mercedes model". This will result in vastly greater power outputs, greater fuel efficiency, a lower centre of gravity and a more controllable power and torque delivery. Combine all of this with a revamped McLaren chassis with Peter Prodromou at the helm (Adrian Newey's former sidekick at Red Bull), and McLaren-Honda could be a serious player in the years to come. Finally, Alonso will surely have number one status within the team as the new kid on the block makes his long awaited entrance to Formula One: Stoffel Vandoorne. Whilst his performance in the Bahrain GP was mightily impressive, Vandoorne has never faced a driver of the calibre of Fernando Alonso over the span of a full racing season. Whilst McLaren-Honda still may need some time to get back to the pointy end of the grid, they are doing the right things to get there. It's only a matter of time. If Alonso remains onboard, he'll be part of something truly special. Why Move to Mercedes? In a word: Winning. There's no two ways about it. If he joins the Silver Arrows, then he'll be a title contender over night. Alonso does not have a lot of time left in Formula One, and he's desperate to go out as a three (or more) times World Champion. Something he's been clear to point out in seasons gone by is that he realistically should have had at least one more championship after 2012 slipped through his fingers in arguably the greatest season the sport has ever seen. The Hamilton rivalry we saw in 2007 is water under the bridge, according to both Hamilton and Alonso. A new-found respect has flourished between them, and working as teammates could actually be feasible. However, that's all just media fluff and it remains to be seen whether or not the two could realistically have a working relationship that wouldn't turn into turmoil all over again, especially when you have a car so good that coming third is seen as a disaster. Alonso hasn't won a championship for 10 years. Yes, that's right, a whole decade. He needs immediate success if he's to capture that elusive third title before he is forced to retire, and Mercedes is without a shadow of a doubt the best option for him if he wants to "chuck a Rosberg" and leave the sport on top. However it may not be as easy as simply signing the contract and winning the title as he'll have arguably the best and most motivated driver on the grid as his teammate: Lewis "The Mercenary" Hamilton. Over to you! Do you think Alonso is better off staying with McLaren-Honda? Or should have a quick burst in a Mercedes to try and win that third title he's so desperately craved all these years?