Horner: Vettel has signed nothing with Ferrari
4 July 2012
Despite speculation to the contrary, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is confident that reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel does not have an agreement to join Ferrari ahead of the 2014 F1 campaign.
The German has been linked with a move to Maranello for several months, to the point where sources claim that he has signed a 'pre-agreement' to join Fernando Alonso in the Scuderia's line-up once his current Red Bull contract expires, but Horner insists that that is just gossip and that his star turn will be staying put.
Speaking to reports in the build-up to his team's home race at Silverstone, Horner brushed off the latest suggestions that Vettel had been lured to Ferrari, sparked by comments from his contemporary at the Scuderia, Stefano Domenicali, which claimed that the German could 'easily co-exist' in the same line-up Alonso, despite the Spaniard having endured a fiery relationship with the up-and-coming Lewis Hamilton when paired together at McLaren in 2007.
"I have spoken with Sebastian about it and he's made it quite clear that he hasn't had any dialogue and hasn't signed anything with Ferrari," Horner insisted, "However, the rumour mill will always continue, [and] I think most of our team has been going to Ferrari at some point this year - whether it be Adrian [Newey], Mark [Webber], Sebastian or even myself."
Asked during the European Grand Prix weekend about a possible change of colours in the near future, Vettel himself admitted that it would be big move to leave the Red Bull family, even if he joked it off by making reference to having carried the company's colours on his helmet for so long.
"Sebastian is very comfortable in the team, the team is very comfortable with Sebastian," Horner emphasised, "He's been with Red Bull for over twelve years now and I think he will be us for quite a few years to come. I have no concern over Sebastian and where he will be in 2013, 2014 or beyond. I don't think Ferrari is a must for him - he's very happy where he is, achieving great results where he is and he's focused on trying to achieve a lot more."
While Vettel has two-and-a-half years remaining on his current Red Bull contract, team-mate Webber is happy existing on a year-by-year renewal, and is a more likely target for Ferrari, with whom he has also been linked on several occasions. The Australian, now one of F1's senior figures, gets along well with Alonso and would not be seen as as much of a threat to his position as Ferrari number one as Vettel might. Horner, however, has suggested that Webber may indeed choose to sign another extension to prolong his six-year stay in Milton Keynes.
Although tension remains between the two RBR drivers, with Vettel this week admitting that they don't have the greatest relationship despite matters having improved from the nadir of 2009, Webber is enjoying an upturn in form over last season and, following Vettel's retirement from the lead in Valencia, is better placed in the championship, leading the pursuit of Alonso in second place.
"Mark's doing a great job," Horner said of the Monaco Grand Prix winner, "I think he's driven extremely well this year, [and] his consistency has been strong. He's enjoying his driving again and I think [he and Vettel] are a strong pairing. It's important for us to have two drivers who push to get the best out of each other, [and] I'm sure that, over the next few weeks, we'll sit down and talk about the future with Mark."