Sebastian Vettel has played down talk linking him to Mercedes' unexpected vacant seat alongside Lewis Hamilton, saying his position with Ferrari for 2017 is 'clear'.

Rosberg's shock decision to retire from F1 has opened up a potentially title-contending position available for the 2017 season but only limited available driver options at this late stage.

Nevertheless, a number of contracted drivers have still emerged as potential contenders, with Vettel being earmarked amid talk of discontent amongst Ferrari behind the scenes and indifferent 2016 results.

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However, Vettel has suggested neither he nor Kimi Raikkonen should be considered amongst the candidates, saying their contracts with Ferrari should make their position clear.

"I think it's not a big secret that both myself and Kimi [Raikkonen] have a contract for next year, so it should be clear," he said at Ferrari's World Finals event in Daytona this weekend.

"I don't know what is their plan, but for us we look after ourselves for next year, there's lots of things changing so we're quite busy ourselves. We're very positive for next year."

Regardless, Vettel is no stranger to catching teams off guard after he activated a clause in his long-term Red Bull contract to make a surprise switch to Ferrari in 2014.

READ: 'Half the grid' chasing Rosberg's Mercedes drive - Lauda

Furthermore, with Ferrari deciding to wait until 2017 to begin talks about a potential new deal beyond the season many saw this as a veiled attempt by the team to spur Vettel on following a disappointing season. As a result, Vettel could see this as a means of leverage over either a new deal with Ferrari or a chance to leave early.

As it stands, Pascal Wehrlein remains the favourite to replace Rosberg considering both his availability and his close relationship with Mercedes, though both Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda have both inferred that his relative lack of experience could count against him if a higher profile driver can be lured out of their contract.

As well as Wehrlein, Valtteri Bottas, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz have also been linked to vacant seat.

READ: Lewis Hamilton responds to Nico Rosberg's unexpected retirement

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