Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes Mercedes and Ferrari would never take on Max Verstappen as long as Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel remain in place at their respective team.
As Grand Prix racing's youngest driver and race winner, Verstappen burst onto the scene in 2015, winning his first race in Spain the following year.
The Dutchman became one of the sport's most coveted talents before signing a lucrative three-year deal with Red Bull that terminates at the end of 2020.
A move to either Ferrari or Mercedes could happen after that date, especially as the German team is reported to have bid for the 20-year-old's services in the past. But it won't happen if Hamilton and Vettel have anything to say about it insists Ecclestone.
"I don't think any of the world champions would want to have him in the team," Bernie told Nico Rosberg during a podcast with the 2016 world champion.
"I think he'd have a bigger job getting a seat in a [leading] team than Fernando [Alonso] has. I don't think Ferrari would welcome him with open arms or Mercedes."
Rosberg appeared sceptic about Ecclestone's view, but the 87-year-old doubled-down on his opinion.
"Put it this way, you wouldn't be delighted if you were in a team - forget the word number one but assume you were the top guy in the team - and someone says 'the guy who's going to drive the other car is Verstappen'.
"That's a different story. Sebastian wouldn't want him, Lewis wouldn't want him."