Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug has moved to downplay media reports suggesting that the team was looking at Lewis Hamilton as a possible replacement for Michael Schumacher.

Seven-time F1 champion Schumacher is now in the third year of the three-year deal he signed to come out of retirement in 2010 with no decision yet taken over whether he will continue beyond 2012.

While reports have suggested that senior bosses are keen to sign Schumacher to a new deal, Mercedes has already denied that a two-year extension is already on the table.

German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported over the course of the weekend that Hamilton was being lined up as a 'Plan B' by Mercedes in case Schumacher decided to retire for a second time.

However, Haug has now rubbished those reports, stating that talks would take place with Schumacher when the time was right and that anything else were just rumours.

"This is solely speculation," he told Sport1 "There are no driver negotiations with us, and, as we have said, we will speak with Michael at the appropriate time.

"Now our focus is solely on the start of the season."

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