Red Bull Racing says it is planning to retain the services of newly crowned F1 champion Sebastian Vettel for at least three to four more years, although it would be willing to allow the German to move on if the team was unable to provide him with a competitive car.
Vettel had been quoted as saying that he wouldn't rule out a move to one of the historic names in F1, such as Ferrari, at some point in the future although he remains committed to the team that carried him to his maiden title.
Red Bull has made no secret of its desire to sign Vettel up to a new deal for some time although team advisor Helmut Marko insists that a new contract won't be as long as the ten years that had been reported in some sections of the press.
"Let's be clear: there is not going to be a ten-year contract, because we are not able to guarantee we will have a competitive car for that long," he told Express
, "and Sebastian cannot guarantee that he will always be comfortable with us.
"But in the medium term, the next three or four years, we are firmly planning to be with him."
Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz meanwhile revealed that the team wouldn't stand in Vettel's way if it didn't produce a competitive car but said the team firmly intended to make it as difficult as possible for him to consider going anywhere else.
"[If the car was not competitive], we would let him go even if he had a contract," he told Welt am Sonntag
. "Seb wants to drive for Ferrari some day. We will make it as difficult a decision for him as possible."