Sebastian Vettel is destined for great things, and will likely be at Red Bull Racing for only a couple of years – that is the view of the promising young German's current team boss Gerhard Berger.
Vettel will be promoted to the parent Red Bull outfit in 2009, after impressing many with his performances over the first half of the 2008 campaign with Scuderia Toro Rosso, including battling, hard-earned points' finishes in Monaco, Montreal and in front of his home supporters at Hockenheim last time out, and top ten qualifying showings in Australia, Britain and Germany.
RBR team principal Christian Horner has affirmed that Vettel has a 'long-term' contract with the energy drinks-backed, Milton Keynes-based squad, but F1SA
claims BMW-Sauber also has an option on the recently-turned 21-year-old's services in the years to come.
That relationship stretches all the way back to the man from Heppenheim's days spent racing in Formula BMW ADAC in 2003 and 2004, taking in both a test driving role with the Munich and Hinwil-based team in F1 in late 2006/early 2007 and his noteworthy, point-scoring grand prix debut at Indianapolis last year.
“In 2011 Sebastian Vettel will be interesting not only for BMW, but also for Mercedes and Ferrari,” former ten-time grand prix winner and STR co-owner Berger told tabloid newspaper tz
, adding that his young charge has agreed a two-year deal with RBR.
The Austrian has also moved to suggest that Sébastien Bourdais' seat at the small Faenza-based concern is safe for 2009, despite the record-breaking, multiple Champ Car Champion having struggled on a number of occasions during the first half of his rookie season in the top flight.
GP2 Series stars Bruno Senna, Sébastien Buemi – who is already a test driver for Red Bull Racing, and has made no secret of his desire to graduate to F1 in 2009 – and Karun Chandhok have all been linked to STR for next year.
“I would rather have a mixture of a young driver with an experienced one,” Berger is quoted as having told sportnet
Meanwhile, the 48-year-old will climb inside the cockpit of a modern-day F1 car for the first time in Budapest ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix close to the city. Berger – who retired at the end of 14 campaigns and 210 races in the uppermost echelon at the close of the 1997 season – has already had a seat-fitting in the STR3 ahead of the planned demonstration run through the streets of the capital, sportnet
“It will be the first time I have driven a current F1 car, let alone my own,” he joked. “I simply want to know what it feels like.”
The former McLaren, Ferrari and Benetton star did, however, rule out a more serious test around a proper circuit, insisting: “Those days are over.”