Rumours that Valtteri Bottas could lose his Mercedes seat before the end of the season do not "make sense", according to former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher.
Britain's Daily Mail newspaper quoted a team source as saying there is "unrest" at Mercedes about the Finn's performance.
"He is not up to it, which was made clearer by the job we saw (George) Russell do in Bahrain," the unnamed insider added.
Many seasoned media figures initially dismissed the reports, suggesting that Mercedes boss Toto Wolff would not use the Daily Mail for such a leak.
"The Daily Mail is not taken seriously by anyone," noted the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti.
Ralf Schumacher also played down the likelihood that it is true.
"It doesn't make sense to swap out Valtteri during the season," he told Sport1.
"Obviously he is not as strong as Hamilton, because there are only a few who are. But compared to Imola, he clearly improved in Portugal - he was on pole remember," the German added.
Schumacher continued: "It is still far too early in the season to be able to draw such conclusions. A swap would also bring more unrest to the team than it would solve.
"I don't think Hamilton would be happy about having Russell as a teammate either."
"Circumstances are always going to happen so let's see how things pan out, but Valtteri has done a great job for Mercedes over the last few years," he said.
"I would be surprised if they did switch Valtteri and George around mid-season."