Ferrari would jump at the chance to sign Sebastian Vettel, admits president Luca di Montezemolo - but only as a replacement for Fernando Alonso.

Speaking at the Scuderia's annual Christmas celebration, di Montezemolo praised the German for his third world title and conceded that he would be the ideal replacement for Alonso as and when the Spaniard decides to hang up his helmet.

"If for whatever reason, Alonso was to retire, then I'd like Vettel, a driver who has his feet on the ground and a great will to win," Montezemolo revealed, "It was [Michael] Schumacher who pointed him out to me a few years ago, as he knew him from the time when Sebastian was still racing karts. I have to admit Michael was right but, having said that, I am immensely happy to have Alonso in our team!"

Vettel and Alonso duelled over the 2012 championship to the very end, with Vettel overcoming a 40-point deficit in the second half of the season, but the manner of the outcome - which saw Ferrari protesting the result of the Brazilian finale - may sway the German's opinion of his suitor.

Having secured the sixth place he needed to better Alonso's points tally when the Spaniard crossed the line in second spot, Vettel's crown was thrown into doubt when the Scuderia questioned the legality of one of his passing moves. Having been linked to Maranello throughout the middle of the season - and having previously admitted a desire to one day drive for Ferrari - the objections to his success may make di Montezemolo's wish a little less likely.