BBC director general Tony Hall has denied any knowledge of claims that Jeremy Clarkson was secretly offered a return as Top Gear host.
Clarkson was sacked earlier this year after he punched producer Oisin Tymon in a row over a steak dinner.
But he told the Sun he met an unnamed BBC executive days before Chris Evans was announced as the new host.
Lord Hall told Andrew Marr: "I have no idea what that's all about. "Sadly, and I say sadly, because I think Jeremy Clarkson is an extraordinary talent, I announced we were parting company some months ago. I am thrilled Chris Evans has got the job."
Jeremy Clarkson has claimed he was offered a return to Top Gear but had to turn it down as "too much has gone on" since he left the show.
Chris Evans said anyone from around the world was welcome to apply as long as they knew about cars.
Chris Evans has signed a three-year deal to be the new host of Top Gear, the BBC has said.