Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto says rumours Ferrari could replace Sebastian Vettel mid-season are “completely wrong”.
In his final year with the Scuderia, informed by Binotto before the start of the championship that he would not be renewing his contract, Vettel has been struggling for form.
The German has a best result of sixth place, bagged at the Hungarian Grand Prix, and has managed just 10 points from the first five races.
In sharp contrast his team-mate Charles Leclerc has two podiums and 45 points.
This has led to pundits such as Jolyon Palmer and Gerhard Berger calling for Ferrari to drop the German immediately.
Autobild speculated that Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg are being lined up as possible mid-season replacements.
Binotto says this is not true.
The Ferrari team boss told Sky F1: “That’s completely wrong, there are no reasons for it.
“He’s a talented driver, we know his potential.”
Sharing his thoughts after the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, a race in which Vettel questioned whether Ferrari pitted him to make life easier for Leclerc, Palmer said the situation at Ferrari was “toxic” and “nasty”.
“I don’t know if he can [see out the season with Ferrari],” the Brit said via BBC Five Live’s Chequered Flag podcast.
“It’s just getting more and more toxic by the day, not even by the race. He’s basically performing really badly compared to Leclerc, who is the golden boy at Ferrari.
“Vettel is leaving the team and he is really struggling to even get points right now.
“Four races he has barely been in the points and it was only Hungary where he showed any chance of getting sensible points – even then he ran off the road twice.
“Vettel believes there is something wrong with his car and that was evident in the very cagey post-race interviews and it’s just getting nasty between him and Ferrari.”
Binotto has rubbished talk of tension, adamant that there is still a lot of respect between Vettel and Ferrari.
“There are no tensions with him at all, he is part of the family,” he said.
“He is behaving well as I think we are behaving well.
“We have plenty of respect so we will support him and there’s no reason to think even of such a change.”