McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has dismissed suggestions that the team are looking to sign Sebastian Vettel for next year.
The four-time world champion is out of contract at Aston Martin at the end of this season, and he has been linked with a move to McLaren to partner Lando Norris amid what continues to be a difficult time in Papaya for Daniel Ricciardo.
The German affirmed that there is a “clear intention” for him to continue racing with the Silverstone-based side beyond the end of this season, and dismissed tenuous links between him and the Australian’s drive as purely “rumours.”
Speculation regarding Ricciardo’s immediate future was sparked by Zak Brown’s public criticism of his driver, who has now been out-qualified 25 times in 34 race weekends by team-mate Norris.
The 22-year-old has been in the points on 29 occasions, while Ricciardo has finished in the top 10 16 times.
It shows, if nothing else, that the McLaren car simply has not suited the 33-year-old in any way, as a driver who has won eight races in his career does not lose that performance overnight.
He has had a particularly hard time adapting to it, but Seidl and Brown are both supportive of their driver as he looks to find some consistent form.
“We have a contract with Daniel for next year so there are no doubts there,” explained Seidl.
“As Daniel says himself, it’s no secret that he’s had a hard time with the new car this year to find that last percentage that Lando regularly finds.
“But he is working very intensively working with the team in Woking in the simulator to see what he can do to find these last percentages”
As for the possibility of signing Vettel, the 46-year-old confirmed that he can “definitely rule that out,” but he hopes to see the Aston Martin driver in the pinnacle of motorsport next season.
“I respect him very much as a driver and as a person, but there is no more than that,” added Seidl.
“I definitely wish it [an extension] for him and for Formula 1 fans, but in the end he has to work that out with himself and his team.”