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Vettel commits to Red Bull to 2014
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Vettel commits to Red Bull to 2014
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Mar 2011   |  3:35 pm GMT  |  56 comments

World champion Sebastian Vettel today committed himself to stay with the Red Bull team until the end of 2014 at least.

Vettel: At Red Bull until 2014 (Darren Heath)


Vettel is just 23 years old now and will still be only 27 at the end of this contract extension, traditionally seen as the age when a driver enters the peak period of his career. Fernando Alonso is in that period now; he turns 30 this year and will be 33 when Vettel’s contract runs out. By that time Alonso will have been in F1 for 14 years.

The move will certainly put an end to stories about Vettel and Ferrari for a while, which will be a relief, but they are bound to come back when the contract moves close to its expiry date. He looks like a natural successor to Alonso; it’s hard to imagine them working together in the team – the cost would be a major issue too – so it’s really a question of whether Alonso is still cutting it at 33 and how much longer he wants to race for and what Red Bull’s plans are at that stage.

There is a great deal of loyalty on his side to Red Bull, but he will have been driving in F1 with them (and Toro Rosso) for eight years when this deal ends.

I don’t know the details of Vettel’s extension package and remuneration, but I imagine that he has moved from a small retainer plus large bonus deal to something more akin to what Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have where they earn in the region of €15 million a year, with retainer being the larger portion of the sum.

That said, Vettel’s prospects of getting results looks pretty rosy this year; the RB7 looks like the car to beat going into the first race next week.

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56 Comments
  1. goferet says:

    But life isn’t so straight forward. Looking about at Prost, I would say Alonso is going to walk after this season for he’s the kind of person that doesn’t take too kindly being beaten.

    So I expect Hammy at Ferrari in 2012 because of Mclaren’s poor performance in the engineering department & yes Simon Fuller is going to whisper all sorts of things in the lads ears.

    1. ACB says:

      Where would Alonso go after Ferrari? No disrespect intended, but just because Prost did it doesn’t mean Fernando will. What top team would be available for him? Mclaren is out, Renault? Not again, RBR? if he wants to drive with Vettel-doubt that much, Mercedes if they’re looking better, but there’s no promise of that.
      BTW, Simon Fuller is pals with Ron Dennis as well, so he probably won’t be whispering anything to Lewis about leaving Mclaren any time soon.

    2. irish con says:

      mate if you see guys in white coats run and dont look back.

      1. ACB says:

        I assume you’re talking to goferet.

      2. ACB says:

        BTW, Prost didn’t ‘walk’ he was fired by Ferrari.

    3. unoc vII says:

      Hamilton wont go to Ferrari. McLaren and Ferrari both produce great cars most of the time currently. The last time McLaren failed, Ferrari also did (09). Before that he won with McLaren in 08 and the McLaren was a better car in 07.

      He hasn’t exactly had bad cars and by the run of things he has probably had the best cars out of any F1 driver ever (3 out of 4 championship fighters, 4 out of 4 GP winners)

    4. Rich C says:

      goferet I think you’ve got the 3-D glasses on backwards!

    5. Phil C says:

      Prost made a number of derogatory comments about the 1991 Ferrari, which he felt was extremely poor, and after a strong season in 1990 (where he was in contention until the penultimate race, and then only because Senna drove him off at the first corner (like he said he would!)) he felt the team had fallen behind. Upset with the comments, he was fired, and replaced with Ivan Capelli.

      So Prost did not walk, and I hardly think Alonso will. If he didn’t like getting beaten, he would not have stayed with Renault in 2009. The reason he left McLaren was because he felt they didn’t support him over Hamilton – McLaren treating them both as equals. Let’s face it, that is something Ferrari won’t do, as proven in Germany last year…

    6. K-F1 says:

      goferet you need to get real and stop talking out of your fantasy.

  2. Silverstone79 says:

    Makes sense for all concerned.

    Why would Vettel hand over the keys to the RB8 or RB9 in favour of a red car while Adrian is still producing the goods. (which makes me think that he would not have signed an extension without some for of reassuracne as to Adrian futre plans)

    Also, no matter how fast you are, why would you want to team up with Alonso. History has proven that if he is being beaten he can be a moody bugger…so why take on the agro.

    Depending on how the results go over the next year or two, Alonso may decide to retire and keep Bees or something. At that point a brith a feraari may be attractive.

    Anyway the lenght of the contract is unimportant anyway….as with the way of things in F1, throw enough money at the problem and it goes away!

  3. Michael Prestia says:

    Thats a relief for Massa.

  4. irish con says:

    personally i think vettel v alonso will be the topic for the next few years in terms of wdc titles. i think alonso will be around for a long time yet at ferrari. i think lewis hamiltons nxt move will be harder to guess if mclaren dont produce. could we see lewis join seb at red bull.

    1. Damian J says:

      Fortunes can change very quickly in F1….easy to write off McLaren because their testing has n’t gone so smoothly.

      An engine failure here….a revenge Massa chop on Alonso there….follow up retaliation by blocking in the pitlane and before you can say within six tenths of a second, “This is the team I’ve always wanted to race for” and Alonso could be walking….off to Redbull.

  5. Dale says:

    Off topic I know but very important I think for F1.

    It’s reported today that Saudi Arabia (the finest of democratic countries) has at the request of Bahrain sent in 1000 troops to quell the civil unrest.

    I suppose when the squash them completely it’ll be fine for F1 to race t5heir again then?

    F1 (the FIA) should make a statement that F1 will not race in Bahrain in 2011, end of.

    1. . says:

      I am sure if in your, ahem, ‘democratic’ country citizens started rioting, killing police officers, burning cars and robbing shops in the streets like in Saudi Arabia, nothing would be done by your government to stop it.

    2. Phil C says:

      It can’t be long until they do call it off for good – Bahrain declared a three-month state of emergency today. That takes the situation into June, and they have a deadline of May 1st to sort a race in the country for 2011.

  6. Iain M says:

    Hi James,

    I have a question I would like to ask. Just wondering why the rear wing control needs to be on the steering wheel, why it could not be controlled for example by the drivers left knee like the McLaren “F” duct?

    All the best!!
    Iain

    1. Matt says:

      I think it could be, but why?

    2. devilsadvocate says:

      I think I heard a rumor Ferrari has already moved their wing control to be controlled by thw drivers foot or something, maybe I’m wrong

      1. James Allen says:

        They were stories that they were trying a pedal operated system in Barcelona

  7. mo kahn says:

    He should’ve or must’ve seen till how long is Adrian Newey signed in with RB… For without him they’ll lose the winning edge. And Vetel is too talented to be struggling with a second graded team. So, its more important to know how long is Adrian signed in for.

    1. Knuckles says:

      ‘As well as Vettel being locked down to 2014, the team has also put in place deals for that period with its senior technical figures – including star designer Adrian Newey – to ensure continuity on that front.

      Marko added: “This includes around 50 people of the upper and middle management – basically everyone who is important for securing RBR’s top level performances.”‘

      http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/89911

  8. Nilesh says:

    Who do you think will be replacing Massa when his contract runs out? Will Ferrari bring in Bianchi or prefer to put him in a Ferrari powered team first?

    1. andyb says:

      Ferrari wouldnt hire a rookie. If Kubica doesnt come back this year then Massa might be safe.

      Who would be available, prepared to be team mates with Alonso, and better than Massa?

      1. Martin says:

        Jenson Button? He was race driver at Renault when Alonso was a tester. He walked into Lewis’ lions den and lived so why not?. He is kind of tall in the current era, which will annoy the engineers.

        Webber is the one that has been talked about, and has raised driving for Ferrari as probably the only team he would drive for apart from Red Bull.

  9. ACB says:

    RBR has money and Newey, it would be foolish for Vettel to go anywhere else till Newey leaves or retires. And cannot imagine a pairing of Vettel and Alonso; Sebastian getting the better of Fernando at Ferrari would not go down well at all. Vettel has achieved a WDC at the age of 23, he’s good and with experience and maturity he is going to get even better.

  10. For Sure says:

    James, I heard his relationship with Alonso changed this year and Alonso didn’t personally congratulate him. Is this something to do with his comments about driving for Ferrari or Alonso just doesn’t like someone who beat him?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s intense rivalry, of course and I think it will get more intense this season

      1. Even more intense than Alonso vs. Hamilton? I think (and hope) Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton will make a great F1 decade.

      2. Dave C says:

        It’s tense because they are the 2 best drivers in F1, these 2 could not be in the same team when both are within their prime, this rivalry could be the main rivalry of this decade, Hamilton, Webber, Button and Massa all have unique talents that can win them championships but ultimately it’s Vettel that will go down in history as 1 of the all time great to join Senna, Schumacher and Fangio and because of that Alonso acknowledges it and will not want to race against the new young king.

      3. unoc vII says:

        What on earth has Vettel done to show that?
        I’m no where near a Hamilton fan but would take Hamilton over Vettel anyday.

        Vettel’s greatest triumphs
        a) Beating Bourdais, a drive who was no where near the speed for F1 and was fired
        b) Scoring a win at Monza, during a rain soaked weekend where the above said bad driver (Bourdais) managed to Qualify in the same car P4! He started from the pit lane though. Race wise not much happened as he drove from pole.
        c) He barely beat Mark Webber twice, a driver who, while undervalued is hardly a Hamilton or Alonso let alone a Fangio, Senna or Prost.
        d) He has had several mechnical gremlins while his teammate hasn’t and has also had about half a dozen GP’s ruined through his own fault alone
        e) Won the WDC against said above teammate in a car that for almost every single GP was the fastest, and in most by far the fastest.

        I wouldn’t call him as fast as Hamilton let alone faster at all.

      4. chris green says:

        I don’t know why people still rate Alonso after his shenanigans at Mclaren. Blotted his copybook forever for me. Bloody disgraceful. Hamilton, a rookie showed Alonso up on plenty of ocassions that year.

      5. K-F1 says:

        Dave C, what made you think Vettel that will go down in history as 1 of the all time great? [mod] read the rules

    2. mvi says:

      It’s interesting that Vettel has remarked many, many times in interviews since November that Alonso hadn’t congratulated him personally. Yet, shortly after Vettel won, Christian Horner was interviewed by the BBC and said that Alonso appeared in the Red Bull garage to congratulate Vettel. Was Vettel not available at that moment or could Horner not find him? Alonso then certainly congratulated Vettel publicly in his post-race interview.

      1. For Sure says:

        I don’t think Horner said that, sometimes the source isn’t reliable.
        Vettel said Alonso shook his hand but didn’t congratulate him.
        Yes, Alonso congratulated Red Bull but not Vettel which is very unusual by F1 standards.

      2. sachindgr8 says:

        i agree to mvi.. source is reliable coz, its a “video” :P ……in bbc postmatch interview, horner did say that,.. and i must say you are jumping to your own conclusions here… how come him saying “he shook my hand” ended up “shook my hand but dint congratulate” …. its funny how people try to undermine alonso for everything happened or dint ……

      3. For Sure says:

        @sachindgr8
        Did Horner specifically mention that Alonso congratulated Vettel personally? I guess I must be more specific here.
        ” the reigning world champion confirmed he received no congratulations after his victory.

        “No. Nothing in Abu Dhabi. In Monte Carlo [for the FIA prize giving] he shook my hand. That’s normal, if you win others are disappointed and some need five minutes to move past it, others two weeks.”
        Source:
        http://en.espnf1.com/f1/motorsport/story/42649.html

        Again, its no big deal but I just want to set the record straight. Alonso never knows how to lose anyway. In fact he is completely irrational when is beaten fair and square.
        Source: (Thats some videos and at least I have links here. :) )
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fv5hi9u1x8
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0JgHo2subg

  11. PaulL says:

    What’s a contract worth these days? Seems the team can just tear it up eg Kimi, Liuzzi. Is the driver locked in if he wants to leave?

    1. Rich says:

      Well Kimi’s was worth about 17M Euros wasn’t it? We’ll have to wait and see what Liuzzi gets by way of compensation.

  12. Michael S says:

    Congrats to Vettel. I think the key to this was Newey signing on unitl 2014 as well. Vettel truly is the fastest man in F1 currently. Let’s see if he can convert that into a few more title runs.

  13. Snailtrail says:

    I was under the impression that Vettel had to stay with RB – wasnt there something in his contract stating that if he became World Champion he had to commit to RB?

    Also lay off Massa guys – yes he had a lukewarm 10 – but I doubt hes done yet. Even if his performance stays where it is that would be ok with Ferrari anyway…it keeps Alonso’s motivation on his driving.

  14. Gary Smith says:

    Ahh, this would explain Vettel’s recent comments, something about wanting Alonso to take a holiday so he could drive his Ferrari. That throw away comment probably netted him an extra $1 million.

    No news about Webber, though. I know he’s mentioned in the past about wanting to take things a year at a time but I hope he’s not thinking of hanging up his steering wheel just yet. Maybe when F1 switches to four cylinder engines he’ll go back to Oz and race V8′s instead.

    1. unoc vII says:

      IN an interview James showed earlier Mark Webber said he wasn’t thinking about retiring.

      And he hates the V8 Supercars and has said previously that he would rather stay in europe racing in some form of touring cars than the V8′s in Australia OR quite racing altogether

    2. LiamC says:

      Interesting comments by Christian H in the UK Daily Telegraph

      …”“Lewis is a great driver. You would think he’s not going to be happy having another barren year.

      “That is not to say we are looking for him to come to our team. We are very happy with the two drivers we have. That is more of a question you would need to put to Lewis.”

      ~~snip

      Asked whether the team could handle a Vettel-Hamilton combination, he said: “You would certainly envisage it being quite a busy partnership, but you can never rule it out. From my perspective you always want to have the best two drivers.” “…

      Doesn’t seem like there is much room for Webber come 2013

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/lewishamilton/8381953/Formula-One-2011-team-principal-Christian-Horner-hints-at-McLaren-driver-Lewis-Hamilton-joining-Red-Bull.html#

  15. Adam Taylor says:

    I remember seeing him in the paddock at the British Grand Prix a few years ago when he was sitting on the edge of the BMW motorhome with the biggest smile and swinging his legs like an exciting young child and now look at him, youngest world champion F1′s ever seen, and if things continue the way they are, theres no reason as to why 2011 cant be number 2.

  16. Giles says:

    As someone from Australia I cannot wait for this season to start. There are, however, some long range weather forecasts on the net that say there will be some rain floating around the course of the weekend in Melbourne.

    A lot of drivers and commentators observed that last year the poor light conditions at the end of the race made it difficult/unsafe to drive. If that gets combined with overcast grey skies, even without rain, I fear we may be in for an incomplete start to the season.

    James, is this a call that Charlie will make based on radio feedback from the teams and drivers at the time?

  17. unoc vII says:

    ‘Put an end to stories about Vettel moving to Ferrari’?

    Weren’t Helmut Marko and the gango at RBR the ones putting out stories about Vettel wanting to race with Hamilton at McLaren or how Vettel would want to join a team such as Ferrari or a team with the history of Mercedes in the first place?

  18. Morris Mao says:

    I was a little shock to see Alonso had been discribed as a moody bugger by someone and such a phrase could be posted here, since I understand such words are quite offending and nonsense with the topic.

    For this story of Vettel to Ferrari ends temporarily, I just recall what those directly involved had said.

    Vettel not long ago:
    “Yes, it’s my dream to race for Maranello one day. However I’m still young, there is time. At the moment I’m happy to be in Red Bull, without them I would have never arrived in F1.”

    Alonso not long ago:

    “I’m not afraid at all of vettel,Should he come to Ferrari one day, it won’t be a problem. I’m not afraid to face any team-mate, I’ve never feared any of them. None of my team-mates have ever finished a season with more points than I have, so I don’t see why I should be afraid of anyone.”

    Helmut Marko, someone to Vettel like Dennis to Hamilton:
    :Sebastian Vettel is a smart boy, he konws how to choose the right time, in a short time, he will not go to Ferrari, because Alonso is there, otherwise he would be stupid.

    1. Phil C says:

      Yes, Alonso can’t say that none of his team-mates have beaten him on points though can he!

      He may not have been afraid of Hamilton, but he was certainly frustrated by him, as he showed publically on several occassions.

      As for the phrase ‘moody bugger’ it isn’t really that offensive, now if you were to use certain swear words…

  19. Mark V says:

    If Wayne Gretzky can suddenly get traded at the height of his career, no deal in sports is set in stone so this Vettel announcement is next to meaningless.

  20. MIKE LEA says:

    Vettel gets to drive Adrian Newey’s car for the next few years, presumably on big money, and is already a world champion. Bet he hasn’t stopped smiling! Esp. when he saw the McLaren struggling in testing…

  21. Jess says:

    We said the same about Hamilton and then Raikonen and even Button. They couldn’t dominate after they won their first world title.
    Vettel is a great talent, better than Hamilton if you ask me. But, I don’t think he will have it easy the coming years. He might just be another one-hit wonder, for a long time.
    The biggest advantage he has over the rest is without doubt his superior RedBull.

  22. AlexD says:

    Vettel will definitely want to move….Red Bull achieved a lot, but this is still a company that sells cans of soft drinks.
    Ferrari means a lot!

  23. nsx says:

    Would love to see Webbo win this year’s title and then switch to Ferrari. The problem I see is that KERS adds weight to the F1 car, and Webber is already about 20kg heavier than Vettel. This has meant that Vettel has been able to use ballast to help with the weight distribution of the car (remember ballast can be placed anywhere in the car). I think if we had the flip side – that is, if Vettel was the one who was 20kg heavier than Webber, there is no doubt that Webber would be the driver always finishing about 1 tenth ahead.

    The reality is Webber is the superior driver but due to his heavier weight, Vettel is usually slightly faster. Now with KERS I suspect the difference between them will increase. Webber’s career could be over due to the regulations. The one useful thing the FIA did do, was to increase the minimum weight this season from 620kg to 640kg, which will be helpful to Webber.

    If we go back to 2009, remember that Heidfeld was faster than Kubica. That was due to the weight difference between the drivers, with KERS being optional that season. So Heidfeld on the surface was the faster driver, however that was simply because Kubica weighed about 20kg more than Heidfeld.

    1. Dom says:

      Good point – I agree. Webber and Kube are/were both disadvantaged by the regulations – poor form on the FIAs part in my mind.

      I think Vettel demonstrated a lot of mental resolve last season though coming to win from where he was – more so than any driver in recent years although Alonso’s 2010 comeback was also mightliy impressive.

      James, there’s been a refernce to a Jaguar test in 2002 where Alonso and Webber tested and Webber thinks Alonso is the faster – it’s in this month’s F1 racing. Just wondered if you’d seen it and/or new any of the details – I’d be surprised if Webber really thinks Alonso is faster than he?

      1. James Allen says:

        Not seen that but they overlapped at Renault too, I believe in early 2000s. There is an obvious warmth and respect between them when you see them together. Webber calls him The Fonz.

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