Having retained Mark Webber for another season, Red Bull Racing is now turning its attention to securing the services of his team-mate for the foreseeable future.
While apparently content to keep Webber on a year-by-year deal, however, the Milton Keynes team is determined to keep Sebastian Vettel from the clutches of rivals keen to snap up the young German talent. While RBR is hoping to extend Vettel's current deal by as much as four years, such is the rapport between team and driver, principal Christian Horner joked that he'd like a contract that would ensure Vettel was too old to go anywhere else.
“2028," he suggested as a potential end date, "Then he'd be 41, like Michael Schumacher.”
Vettel's current deal will keep him as team-mate to Webber next season, but the 23-year old is already attracting covetous glances from teams up and down the grid, with Ferrari and, more recently, Mercedes being touted as serious contenders for his signature. As a result, Sport Bild
understands that Horner intends to sit down with the German at this weekend's British Grand Prix, with Red Bull hoping that a deal can be thrashed out to extend their relationship through to the end of 2015.
“I know that Mercedes would have Sebastian, Ferrari too," Horner confirmed, "Even McLaren would not be averse [to signing him], and that's why we want to have him for the long term. Sebastian is the future - he is going to be around, winning, for many years.”
Without a manager, Vettel - who took both the Red Bull brand's F1 win, with Toro Rosso in Italy in 2008, and the first for Red Bull Racing, in China last year - is expected to handle his any contract talks on his own, but he has publicly admitted that he would take a winning car over a sizeable financial incentive.