MONZA, Italy - Formula One is always awash with rumours but Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack had to laugh when he heard the one suggesting his Canadian driver Lance Stroll might quit to become a professional tennis player.

The story, Krack assured Reuters at the Italian Grand Prix on Thursday, was nonsense -- Stroll and team mate Fernando Alonso will remain next year -- but also reflected a wider misunderstanding.

Stroll, 24, started the season with broken wrists from a cycling accident and has so far been eclipsed by his 42-year-old team mate, who is third overall and has scored 121 points more from 13 of 22 races.

While double world champion Alonso has been on the podium seven times in 2023, including three second places, Stroll has a best finish of fourth.

The Canadian is the son of the team's billionaire owner Lawrence Stroll, however, and therefore generally assumed to have a safe seat for as long as he wants rather than being in any danger of the sack.

Krack said the gap between his drivers was in points and not performance, and Stroll was not lacking in motivation or commitment.

There was no indication he might walk away.

"I have to laugh. You read that and go ‘what?’," he said of the tennis story that was also swiftly dismissed by Stroll last weekend.

"At the same time I have a driver who is in meetings with his engineers and trying to understand the car better, trying to improve, going in the simulator afterwards and coming back and having more analysis.

"Obviously there is a media narrative dynamic and there is the reality in the team and they are not compatible at the moment," said the Luxemburger.

"What we see is completely different. We see a hard worker, someone who is really pushing to perform."

Krack said the team had to take responsibility for Stroll failing to score in last Sunday's rain-hit Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

"I think he would have been fighting for a good points score or a very good result and we didn’t materialize that. We were not decisive enough in that period of the race and that unfortunately helps these stories," he added.

"We have had some unfortunate situations with Lance, we had some situations where we didn’t do a good job and we didn’t have these with Fernando.

"I think we have a much more balanced view on the whole dynamic, because we have seen it last year with (now-retired) Sebastian (Vettel) that Lance could easily match (him). There is no reason why this is not possible now."

Krack said Stroll, now in his seventh season in Formula One, had the respect of his peers and had built that through his racing career.

"There is this perception about Lawrence and about Lance which we do not see. But it is normal that these kind of stories come up," he added of those who still see Stroll as a rich kid whose father bought a team for him.

"He (Lance) was helped but others have help as well. You do not manage without help to get yourself through the ranks of F4, F3, F2. It’s become too difficult these days. Whatever category you are in, it is never easy to win and he has done that."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)