Vettel dismisses Mercedes speculation

Updated: 

Sebastian Vettel has poured cold water on speculation he could replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes following the Formula One world champion's surprise retirement.

Vettel and Fernando Alonso have both been mentioned as potential new team-mates for Lewis Hamilton at the dominant Silver Arrows for 2017.

Mercedes hope to have their driver line-up confirmed by the end of the year, but Vettel was quick to stress he is contracted with Ferrari, therefore ruling himself out of a switch.

And the four-time world champion is confident he can be competitive in 2017 as new regulations come into the sport.

"I think it's no secret the fact that me and Kimi Raikkonen have a contract for next season," he is quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport at a Ferrari day at the Daytona International Speedway.

"Kimi and I are already committed. In 2017 we will be competitive.

"We have not reached the goal this year, but it will be important to do the job at the factory in the next two months.

"I am confident that we will definitely present an improved package."

 

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne shares Vettel's optimism heading into the new season, despite his team having finished 367 points behind Mercedes in the constructors' standings.

"I was surprised by the announcement [from Rosberg]," he said. "His farewell to racing hit me emotionally.

"But I do not expect that Mercedes will be weaker without Rosberg. I hope rather that Ferrari will be stronger."