While Mercedes protégé Pascal Wehrlein remains the German manufacturer's most reasonable option to replace the departed Nico Rosberg, the Alonso possibility just won't go away.
"You have to consider Fernando," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Sky Sports in an exclusive interview that will be broadcast Thursday evening.
"He is a driver I respect a lot. He combines talent, speed and experience. It's all there. But he is in a contract with McLaren-Honda at the moment and we just need to weigh all the other options up."
McLaren's new boss Zak Brown reiterated as recently as Sunday evening at the McLaren Autosport Awards that Alonso's three-year contract will run its full term.
"We have a contract with Fernando and he is very happy," Brown said. "Obviously he wants to be winning races, as do we, but I am not worried about that scenario."
In the Sky interview, Wolff also insists that regardless of who is chosen to partner Lewis Hamilton in 2017, he will get equal status with the triple world champion.
"We will maintain the system like we had. We will always have equal status for both drivers, give them equal opportunity to the best of our ability.
"I think we owe it to the fans and to ourselves that you can't have a pecking order straight from the beginning. It is not what we like to see happening."