Red Bull, Ferrari deny Vettel rumours
15 October 2012
Unsurprisingly, considering that nothing concrete has emerged from either party, both Ferrari and Red Bull have attempted to play down the speculation that Sebastian Vettel is to move from one to the other ahead of the 2014 F1 season.
While the BBC broke the story 24 hours after the F1 circus had begun packing up in Korea, claiming that Felipe Massa was about to offered a one-year contract extension in order to bridge the gap between now and when Vettel can leave Milton Keynes for Maranello, both Luca di Montezemolo and Christian Horner have sought outlets to dismiss the notion that the two-time world champion could be poised to make a bigger switch of allegiance that seen this season with Lewis Hamilton's jump from McLaren to Mercedes.
"Sebastian Vettel, without a shadow of doubt, will be part of the Red Bull Racing team in 2014," was Horner's brief response to BBC Sport, while di Montezemolo took to Italian national radio to quell the sort of speculation that would get the tifosi picturing a 'dream team' alliance with Fernando Alonso.
"Today, the problem is not with drivers," he said, aware that Alonso is currently fighting to protect his title bid from a late Vettel assault, "2013 is still to come, but I don't want to have two roosters in the same henhouse. I'd rather two drivers who race for Ferrari and not for themselves. I don't want problems and rivalries, which we didn't have between [Michael] Schumacher and [Eddie] Irvine, between Schumacher and [Rubens] Barrichello, between Alonso and Massa or Massa and Schumi or Massa and [Kimi] Raikkonen...."
The potential of a relationship between Vettel and Ferrari has been bouncing around the F1 paddock for much of the year, with Horner already denying reports of a pre-contract agreement as long ago as July, but RBR team advisor Helmut Marko has revealed that Vettel's contract, which is understood to cover 2014, contains a performance clause that could see him slip away should Red Bull fail to match its rivals next season.
"2013 is fixed for us," Marko told Germany's Bild, "but, for 2014, there is a performance-related clause in his contract - for him and for the team."
Massa, meanwhile, should know his fate tomorrow [Tuesday], with di Montezemolo saying he will sit down with the Brazilian to discuss the prospect of an extension to his current contract. The Brazilian claimed his first podium for nearly two years in Japan last weekend, and back that - and other better recent performances - up with fourth place in Korea on Sunday. Both Massa and team principal Stefano Domenicali have hinted that a new deal will be forthcoming, but di Montezemolo insists that negotiations are ongoing.
"I'm happy to see Felipe Massa back at a high level, and tomorrow I will meet him at Maranello," he said during his radio interview, "You can see from the constructors' championship [where Ferrari moved into second place on Sunday] that he has returned to the levels that we used to know well. I expect a lot from him and his capacity to take points from our rivals. We will have a chance to talk about his future and then I will take a decision."