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