Sebastian Vettel on Thursday dismissed speculation about his future and declared he hopes to continue racing in Formula One and is talking to Aston Martin about staying.
The 35-year-old four-time world champion will be out of contract at the end of this year and has been linked to other teams and possible retirement in recent months.
But he told a news conference ahead of this weekend’s French Grand Prix he had a clear intention to stay.
“I am racing this weekend and the next one,” he responded, when questioned about his plans.
“Obviously, I’ve said that at some point, we will start to talk. I’m talking to the team.
“I think there’s a clear intention to keep going and we’ll see soon where we stand.”
He added that reports suggesting that he may move to McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo, if the Australian moved on, were nothing but rumours.
Vettel won his four championships with Red Bull from 2010 to 2013, but struggled to reproduce his best results after moving to Ferrari before joining Aston Martin last year.
Aston Martin team chief Mike Krack has said he wants to keep the German driver, adding that it would be Vettel, who has been active in supporting environmental campaigns, who made the decision.
Vettel has scored 15 points this year, compared to team-mate Lance Stroll, son of the team owner, who has three. The team are ninth in the constructors championship.
Vettel said he was optimistic about improving results this weekend.
“I’m looking forward to it – we had an update for Silverstone, but we didn’t fully get on top of it, not yet, so maybe this week we will get more answers.
“It’s exciting and I hope we can be more competitive, get back into the midfield and more into the mix – it would be nice.”
He said the flat and relatively featureless Le Castellet circuit, built on a hot dry plateau of brushland 20 kilometres inland from the Mediterranean east of Marseille, was “what it is… not the most exciting track in the world.
“But it is still quite challenging and technically demanding.”