Manu Fernandez/Associated Press
Does Fernando Alonso truly believe he can win the Formula One title in 2017? Or does he just keep saying it to keep McLaren-Honda motivated during one of the most difficult periods in their history?
With the Spaniard restricted to just four top-10 finishes over the last 18 months, the chances of McLaren making enough progress to even challenge for the world championship this time next year seem remote.
But when you consider that F1 will almost start from scratch in 2017, with new bodywork regulations to be introduced alongside wider tyres, why can't they be the ones to stop Mercedes' dominance?
Alonso has already indicated that next year could be his last in F1 if the season doesn't go to plan, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen also expected to head for the sport's exit door.
The 2007 world champion was considered fortunate to keep his place alongside four-time title winner Sebastian Vettel for next year, but manager Steve Robertson has suggested Raikkonen is already planning to remain in F1 until the end of 2018.
As well as advising Raikkonen, Robertson has played an instrumental role in the career of Felipe Nasr, who had recently hinted he was prepared to leave Sauber at the end of 2016.
But with the Swiss outfit's future looking much clearer following a change of ownership, the Brazilian has admitted he would be willing to stay with Sauber as long as the team have a long-term plan.
Another driver likely to be staying put for 2017 is Pascal Wehrlein, who scored Manor's first point since Monaco 2014 in the recent Austrian GP.
The Mercedes protege is clearly itching to earn an opportunity with the two-time world champions, but Wehrlein is committed to his current team, and he believes they could make huge progress under the new regulations.
Closing our latest roundup is Toto Wolff, who has admitted the points Mercedes have lost in the first half of the season have left the team with a difficult decision when it comes to dedicating their entire focus to their 2017 car.
Might Mercedes' dithering offer McLaren and Ferrari, not to mention Red Bull and Renault, the opportunity they require to bring an end to the Silver Arrows' dominance next year?
Source : http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2653038-formula-1s-latest-rumours-and-talk-fernando-alonso-kimi-raikkonen-and-more