Reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has again insisted that he is not about to jump ship and join Ferrari, but admitted that he could not see any driver not being flattered by the Scuderia's attention.
The German has been the subject of rumours linking him to a move to Maranello for much of the 2012 campaign, with some claims suggesting that he had even signed a 'pre-agreement' giving the Italians first call on his services for 2014, a year before his current Red Bull contract expires. Team boss Christian Horner has already denied that such a deal exists between his young star and the biggest name in the sport, but the media appears to need to hear it from the two parties directly involved.
Vettel has so far refused to rule out a move in future, but has now confirmed to Germany's Bild
that there is nothing in place for him to swap colours for 2014 - and may never be, despite the obvious prestige of joining the hallowed ranks of drivers to wear the Prancing Horse emblem.
"I am honoured that Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo see a driver for Ferrari in myself," he said, "If you ask the 24 drivers in F1 if [they] would like a Ferrari career, then all would say 'yes' - and it's no different with me as it is just an awesome race team - [but] there is no signal from me. I'm not signed, nor agreed with a handshake. Just because I stand in the paddock and talk with Stefano Domenicali, that does not mean that soon I'm to drive for him!"
Amid all the reports claiming he is moving on, Vettel has always pointed to his long-time relationship with Red Bull, which picked him up and the junior ranks and expedited his move to F1. With team-mate Mark Webber already on board to partner Vettel in 2013, Horner is no doubt working on ways to tie the German down for the foreseeable future.
"My boss knows exactly how I feel, because we deal openly with each other," the 25-year-old double world champion commented, insisting that he has kept Horner abreast of everything, "Who knows, maybe everything is different [in future] and then, suddenly, I go somewhere else. But it may even be that I never go anywhere else in my career, because there simply is no better package than Red Bull. It just has to fit on all sides.
"Right now, I'm not going [to Ferrari]. I've almost grown up with Red Bull, we are a family, I like the atmosphere here in the troops [and] this is crucial because I want to defend my title - and that is hard enough this year! I can not, and will not, concern myself with what is perhaps in a few years away."