Flavio Briatore has rejected speculation that Fernando Alonso was ever a serious contender to drive for Mercedes in 2017.
When the reigning champion team suddenly had to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg, Spaniard Alonso was on everyone's lips as the spectacular potential choice.
Yet Briatore, still involved in the management of McLaren driver Alonso's career, told Italian broadcaster Sky Sport 24: "There were never any talks between Fernando and Mercedes.
"There were only baseless rumours. It was even said that Niki Lauda wanted to see Fernando's contract and all the clauses, but the contracts are all there in Geneva."
Mercedes opted to sign up Williams driver Valtteri Bottas to partner Lewis Hamilton in 2017.