Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has refused to deny that Fernando Alonso is being considered as a possible replacement for Mark Webber for the start of the 2014 season.
Horner had previously suggested that the main contenders to succeed the Australian were Daniel Ricciardo or Kimi Raikkonen, but after he was spotted meeting with Alonso's agent Luis Garcia Abad, rumours began to circulate that the Spaniard was also in consideration.
Abad also represents Carlos Sainz Jnr, who impressed at the recent Young Driver Test, but Horner was quizzed over whether Red Bull would be considering a move for Alonso.
"We are in a fortunate position where there is quite a lot of interest in the seat for next year. We had a look at Daniel [Ricciardo] at the [Silverstone] test last week, so we will take a little time over the summer to reflect on the options and look to make the right decision with the right pairing," replied Horner when quizzed by journalists.
When quizzed on the discussion of the meeting with Abad, Horner replied: "Any conversations with any driver remain confidential. Of course, there has been quite a few drivers expressing interest in the seat.
"Is [Alonso] available? You ask him. We are going to take a bit of time to make the right decision. We have some great options and we don't need to be in a rush. There has not been any pressure that we must take a junior driver, it is a matter of fielding the best team.
"Of course, the junior drivers are under consideration but there is no pre-requisite it has to be a junior driver for next season. We want to put the strongest drivers in the car that we can."
Asked whether he would be interested in pairing Alonso with Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull, Horner admitted it would be an exciting prospect.
"It would be interesting. At the end of the day we have to do what is right for the team and the pairing that we want to put together next year has to be right for the team," he added.
"Last week there was speculation about Kimi and this week there is speculation about Fernando but we have to make sure nothing wavers in our minds about putting together the fastest drivers we can find who will work collectively well together and achieve the best results for the team."
Just yesterday Alonso was said to have been admonished by Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo for the his comments after the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard was asked what birthday present he would like after finishing fifth in Hungary, reportedly replying: "Someone else's car."
A statement from Ferrari said Di Montezemolo reminded Alonso that "all the great champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own".
Alonso has twice finished as runner-up in the world championship since joining Ferrari back in 2010 and is tied to a long-term contract with the Scuderia, which officially runs to the end of 2016.