Ron Dennis says Lewis Hamilton could be attracted back to McLaren once the team "returns to the level of competitiveness enjoyed in the past".
The 2008 World Champion left the Woking-based team for Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season, having been part of the McLaren family since the age of 13 as he progressed through the karting and junior formula ranks.Hamilton's move to the Silver Arrows was announced just days after he retired from the lead of that year's Singapore GP and Dennis thinks the disappointment on the streets of Marina Bay was what pushed the 29-year-old to Mercedes.
"I think money played a role in it, but it wasn't a deciding factor," he told Sky Sports News. "The fact is that for him it was possibly time to move on - there had been commitments made from both sides - and I appreciated and knew what the turning point was.
"I know Lewis's character and he was bitterly disappointed to not win the Singapore Grand Prix. Strangely enough it wasn't the failure of a McLaren component that forced him to stop in that race, but nevertheless he was vulnerable and the right offer at the right time was made to him and so he jumped.
"But who knows? As and when - and I can assure you it will be sooner rather than later - that we return to the level of competiveness that we have enjoyed in the past, he could well be one of the drivers that could be attracted back to us and he will be better for having experienced life in a different team environment."Dennis's return to power at McLaren saw Martin Whitmarsh removed from day-to-day control of the F1 team and his position is currently unclear after the team recruited Eric Boullier from Lotus as Racing Director.
However, Dennis has denied reports of a falling out between him and the man who had been his long-term number two on the pitwall.
"There was no falling out between us whatsoever," Dennis explained.
"This is simple, we had to make changes and I wanted to lead the changes because I felt it was the right thing for the group and I was supported in that view by the shareholders, so that is why I am doing it.
"But Martin and I will find a common and positive way forward, and as and when we have that, we will communicate it."