Questions surrounding Mick Schumacher’s future were batted away by the German ahead of this weekend’s Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix.
Schumacher is one of several drivers linked with a move to Alpine for next season, as have Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo.
The 23-year-old is currently in his second season at Haas and, after a slow start to the campaign, has begun showing improved form.
He is also part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, though his ongoing role in that program is unclear.
Schumacher has been supported by Ferrari since 2019 following his success in the previous season’s European F3 Championship.
He went on to win the 2020 Formula 2 Championship with Prema before graduating to Haas last year.
A strong technical relationship exists between Haas and Ferrari, with much of the former’s design team based out of the latter’s Maranello base.
Asked about his future within the FDA, Schumacher moved to shut down the line of questioning while giving nothing away.
“I think in that sense, what has been discussed behind the scenes between us is something that I would rather keep between us and not speak publicly,” he said.
Asked again, he responded simply: “That’s contractual matters, which I can’t go into detail with.”
There are effectively three seats available on the Formula 1 grid next season, namely at Alpine, Haas, and Williams.
Officially, McLaren also has a vacant seat though it is expected that Oscar Piastri will fill that void once the Contract Recognition Board process has been completed.
Of the other available drives, Alpine offers the most competitive package and currently sits fourth in the constructors’ championship.
Having been nailed to the back of the field since 2019, Haas has shown improved performances over the course of 2022.
It has improved to sit seventh after 14 races, with a best result of fifth for Kevin Magnussen at the opening round of the season in Bahrain.
That’s seen it leapfrog the likes of Scuderia AlphaTauri, Aston Martin, and Williams, which therefore makes the latter’s seat the least desirable of those on offer.
It is known that Red Bull has been monitoring Schumacher, with the latest suggestion that the German would find his way to Scuderia AlphaTauri in place of Gasly.
The Frenchman would then head to Alpine, and presumably McLaren refugee Daniel Ricciardo to Haas, or out of Formula 1 entirely.
Gasly remains contracted to Scuderia AlphaTauri for next season, meaning any deal would be predicated on the need to negotiate an early release.
“I said it last week, for next year currently, I’m contracted for AlphaTauri,” Gasly said on Thursday.
“Everybody is aware of my contract situation. For now, nothing has changed.
“I’m with AlphaTauri, I’m giving my best to AlphaTauri as long as I’ll be driving for this team,” he added.
“They gave me my first seat in Formula 1, they gave me my first victory.
“For now, I don’t feel like commenting anything. As long as I’m driving for this team, I’ll always give my 110 percent. “
Originally, Schumacher was tipped as joining Alpine directly, which also remains a possibility.
Other drivers have also been thrown into the mix, including IndyCar racer Colton Herta as a potential replacement for Gasly at Scuderia AlphaTauri.
However, the American does not hold a superlicence, nor does he currently qualify for one, adding to the degree of difficulty in bringing him across the Atlantic.
A week ago in Belgium, Schumacher said he was happy at Haas, though conceded he had not pressed the team about renewing for next season.
His reticence now suggests a degree of sensitivity around the situation.
Whether that is in an attempt to strengthen his bargaining position with Haas, and potentially Ferrari, or because he is on the move remains to be seen.
The current key to the silly season remains Piastri and the outcome of the CRB.
Once that is known, it’s likely much of the current turmoil will drop into place.
According to the Concorde Agreement, the CRB has a 72-hour window following the conclusion of Monday’s meeting in which to reach a decision.
That elapsed on Thursday afternoon with no announcement forthcoming on the matter, with that now expected to be made public on Friday.