Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur quashes rumours of contract offer to Lewis Hamilton

MONACO -- Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has denied reports his team is preparing to make Lewis Hamilton a contract offer for next year.

Hamilton is out of contract with Mercedes at the end of this year, but is in the process of negotiating a new deal and says he wants to stay at his current team for several years to come.

A report in the Daily Mail this week said Ferrari was preparing a $50 million per year offer to coax the seven-time champion away from Mercedes, but Vasseur denied the report ahead of this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.

"You know that at this stage of the season you will have each week a different story [about driver changes] and we are not sending an offer to Lewis Hamilton. We didn't do it."

Asked if Ferrari had held discussions with Hamilton about a deal, Vasseur, who worked with the Mercedes driver in his junior career, said he often talked with Hamilton but not about a contract.

"We didn't have discussions," he added. "I think every single team on the grid would like to have Hamilton at one stage -- it would be bulls--- to not say something like this.

"If I have discussed with Hamilton, [it's because] I have had discussions with him for the last 20 years -- I have discussed things almost every single weekend with Hamilton.

"I don't want to have to stop having discussions with him because you are chasing me [about a contract offer]."

Ferrari currently has its drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc under contract until the end of 2024. Vasseur said the team is focused on making the car quicker and there is no rush to discuss plans with drivers beyond the end of their contracts.

"For us, it's that we agreed we'd discuss about the contracts later on, and I don't want to change because we had the rumours from someone that Lewis could come or Charles could go, or Carlos could go," Vasseur said. "We are dealing our job internally, and I will stay focused on the plan."