McLaren boss Ron Dennis has denied suggestions that Fernando Alonso has already signed a contract to join the Woking-based team next season.
The news of Sebastian Vettel’s departure from Red Bull to Ferrari has fuelled speculation that Alonso is poised to join McLaren from the Maranello squad.
It is understood talks between Alonso and McLaren are at an advanced stage but Dennis has rubbished reports that both parties have signed a contract for 2015.
However, reports from the Suzuka paddock have claimed that Alonso has in fact already signed a deal with Honda, McLaren’s 2015 engine suppliers earlier this week.
McLaren is yet to confirm the identity of either of its drivers for 2015 with Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button both yet to put pen to paper on new deals.
“We do not have a contract with any driver at this moment in time. It isn’t our priority,” said Dennis.
“Of course we talk and do all the things you’d expect us to do, but at this moment in time we do not have contracts that we have activated – because clearly we have driver contracts at the moment (with existing drivers).
“It’s not a great position to be in if you’re Jenson or Kevin, but the reality is they understand our priority is to produce a winning car that they can win with.
“The answer is simple, we don’t have a contract with any driver in respect to next year.”
Alonso remains tight lipped on his destination for next season but revealed that Vettel’s decision to leave Red Bull for Ferrari doesn’t bare any impact on his next move.
Ferrari is yet to announce its plans for 2015 but are expected to confirm Alonso’s release from a contract, which was set to expire at the end of 2016.
“I have a very unique position – thanks to so many years and the respected work I’ve done on the track I decide where to go, what I do, and when I do it,” said Alonso.
“Probably some of the things that are happening [now] are the consequence of my thinking.
“I have my mind set. I’ve had a plan, very clear; for the last two or three months I’ve known what I wanted to do.
“I have the opportunity to do whatever I want and I will do what is the best thing for me in my career right now.
“It’s a combination of being hungry for success – I want to win and become champion – and to be happy, I want to have a good life.
“Everything is moving in the right direction, but at the moment it’s still not 100 per cent complete.”
With Red Bull and Mercedes confirming their 2015 driver line ups, McLaren appears to be Alonso’s only option, although there are suggestions he could take a sabbatical and return in 2016.
“I repeat: whatever I want to do, I will do it, at the moment I want to do it,” Alonso added when asked about the possibility of sitting out next season.
“I will race in whatever place I want. After that, the others will move their positions.”
The likely event of Alonso moving to McLaren has left Button’s F1 future hanging in the balance with the 2009 world champion out of contract at the end of the season.
Although eager to remain at the team next year, the Brit has hinted that his spell in the sport could soon be over.
“There are always other options in life,” he told the official F1 website when asked about options outside of McLaren for next year.
“It definitely will not be my last racing in Japan.”