Norbert Haug has played down claims Mercedes would only retain Michael Schumacher beyond 2012 with a cut-price deal.
"This was a reader's question in a live chat that I gave last Saturday and the wink was not broadcast live," Haug explained to the SID news agency.
Haug said the "wink" was a reference to the remark about price, not Mercedes' willingness to discuss Schumacher's future beyond 2012.
"We are very pleased with Michael and very proud of his skill and experience," he insisted.
"And if he wants to carry on in Formula One after 2012, we will very happily speak with him about it," added Haug.
After the disappointment of Schumacher's F1 return last year, he said there is "no doubt" the 42-year-old is still a top driver.
"Most drivers during the test in Barcelona practiced a qualifying lap," said Haug when asked about Schumacher's best time of the week in the updated W02.
"One or two in the field could probably have gone faster, but probably he (Schumacher) and Nico Rosberg could have as well," he insisted.
"We have no doubt that Michael Schumacher is still absolutely competitive."