When Toto Wolff was spotted chatting and drinking coffee with Niki Lauda and Jos Verstappen in the Monza paddock, it was inevitable that speculation linking Max Verstappen to Mercedes would soon follow... and it did.
However, in a bid to play down the speculation, which could impact both his team and Red Bull, Wolff has gone public.
"I've known Jos for many years," he told Sky Germany. "We have a common friend and he is on a visit here.
"Niki and I sat in the office and our Dutch friends came along and we had a coffee with them. Nothing more, nothing less."
Asked if he was eyeing Max for the team, the Austrian replied: "For next year, there's no interest in Max Verstappen. He is not available.
"But he is one of the names you have to have on the radar," he continued. "He is one of the future stars of F1. Like many others, like Valtteri, like Daniel. Max and Esteban Ocon are part of this group of drivers as well."
Asked about Valtteri Bottas' future with the team, the Finn almost certain to be retained for 2018, Wolff said: "It's all about the details. It's a no-brainer to continue with Valtteri. He has done a really good job this year. He's had his lows as well, which he needs to understand. But we couldn't expect more from his first year."
Of course, helping his teammate by holding off the Ferrari duo would help.