Fast-rising British racing driver Lewis Hamilton is unlikely to make his Formula One debut for McLaren at next month's Brazilian Grand Prix, a report said on Friday.
The 21-year-old winner of the GP2 series has been widely tipped to become the first black Briton to take part in a Grand Prix, but McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh said it was not likely.
Whitmarsh was quoted by Autosport magazine saying, "I doubt it in truth, because we don't need to," when asked if the team were likely to promote Hamilton from testing duties to take part in the final race of the year.
"We don't need to prove Lewis's credentials in one way or the other in the remaining races," said Whitmarsh, the McLaren team's chief executive, ahead of this Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.
"We'll make those decision after Japan. I think the goal is now to develop Lewis and take a view as to when and where he makes his inevitable debut."
Hamilton was involved in a successful week of testing with the McLaren team at Silverstone in Britain last week.
In addition to lapping the circuit, he was involved in pit-stop and starting practice, fuelling speculation that he might replace Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa in the final race of the season.
"He was going through all of the things that would give you an appreciation of what you need to learn," Whitmarsh added.
"Everything in the car has got to become second nature and we thought it would be interesting to expose him to some of those things."
Hamilton said: "If an opportunity came up, we would sit down and analyse if I am ready or not. I think it was 60 laps on Wednesday, and on Thursday I did 50 laps, so not a lot at all.
"Pedro has done thousands and thousands of laps and there is a lot to learn in this car."