Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso insists he has had no contact with Mercedes following the news that Lewis Hamilton will leave the team at the end of the year to drive for Ferrari.
Like the rest of the racing world, Alonso said he was surprised by the timing of Hamilton's decision, which will see him walk away from Mercedes midway through a two-year contract and after 12 years racing at the team.
"Probably it was a surprise, I will not lie," Alonso, who drove for Ferrari between 2010 and 2014, said. "But not because of the change itself, it was just because from the outside, it seemed like he was very linked with Mercedes and very loyal to them and things like that. It was a little bit unexpected."
He added: "It was not his childhood dream 12 months ago or two months ago, I guess, because it was a different dream.
"I hope he enjoys the experience. I think it's a very special team, but it is more special when you win. That's the thing, you need to win, and it's a few years already that they have a very fast car and they were fighting for big things, and maybe Lewis can bring that extra to fight for the championship."
Within 24 hours of the news breaking, Alonso, whose Aston Martin contract will expire at the end of 2024, was linked with Mercedes as a possible replacement for Hamilton.
Alonso, 42, said he had not had any contact with Mercedes and stressed that he would first talk with Aston Martin about a contract renewal before signing a deal with a rival team for 2025.
"On the Mercedes thing, there has been nothing at all," he said. "I know the driver market has started earlier this year than probably June or July, which is the normal timing, but this will not affect me at all in terms of preparing the season good enough.
"We have a very limited pre-season testing in Bahrain, and because it's so limited, I cannot think too much about the future right now. I will have to wait a few races.
"I'm aware of my situation, which is very unique. There are only three world champions on the grid [Alonso, Hamilton and Max Verstappen], and they are fast world champions, because in the past maybe there were some world champions who were not so committed to being fast.
"I'm probably the only champion available for '25, so I have a good position. At the same time, when I make the decision if I want to keep racing or not for the future, first and the only talk that I will have at the beginning is with Aston Martin, because this will be my only one priority."
Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton wanted a new challenge when he joins Ferrari from Mercedes in 2025.
As the oldest driver on the grid, Alonso said he had not yet decided whether he will continue beyond the end of this season.
"I think there are a couple of phases that I need to go through. First of all, I need to decide myself what I want to do for the future. If I want to commit my life, again, for a few more years to this sport, which I love. But I love driving, I've been driving different cars all over the winter: DTM car, car cross, rally car, go kart itself... So I love Formula One, but generally I love driving. So if it's not Formula One, I will find myself happy in any other form of motorsport, and maybe having more time for my private life, which is also very important at this age.
"But you know, this is a decision that I need to do with myself. I need to think, and I need to commit to a team, eventually, and make sure that I understand that the next few years of my life, it will be that team and 100% of my time. Once I make that decision I want to sit with Aston Martin and say, 'OK, I made this decision, and I would love to continue with this project'.
"Because I think we did a good step forward in the last year, we built a lot of things together. We have this new facility here, we have everything to succeed for the future, and I trust this project. So that will be my first priority when I say that I want to speak first with Aston Martin, because I feel part of this project very much.
"But if we cannot reach an agreement, and I want to commit to racing Formula One, I know that I have a privileged position. I'm probably attractive to other teams, the performance that they saw last year, the commitment. And as I said, there are only three world champions on the grid, and there is only one available."