Sainsbury’s has dismissed reports that its CEO Justin King could be set to replace Bernie Ecclestone as the boss of Formula One.

King, who has been Sainsbury’s CEO for nine years, is a keen F1 fan and his son Jordan will race in European Formula 3 this year.

The speculation was fuelled after Ecclestone told reporters: “I’ve no idea whether the boss of a company like Sainsbury’s could do my job. Maybe he could.”

But a Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “This is pure speculation. Justin’s made his commitment to the business clear and is excited about Sainsbury’s long-term prospects for growth. Any discussion of succession is entirely premature.”

“This is pure speculation. Justin’s made his commitment to the business clear” - Sainsbury’s

There have been rumours over King’s position at Sainsbury’s for some time. He is the longest-serving CEO of the big four. Many suggested he could step down after the London 2012 Paralympics, while in January this year, there were also rumours he could step down this year.

But King told reporters at the time: “I see myself here for the long term so if you see yourself in your role this time next year, I look forward to reporting on next Christmas with you”.

In the retailer’s annual report last year, Sainsbury’s board of directors said there was no conflict of interest between Justin King and his son’s sponsorship with brands including 2 Sisters and King of Shaves.