Vettel commits to Red Bull to end of 2015, attention now turns to Webber’s seat
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jun 2013   |  7:22 pm GMT  |  421 comments

Three times world champion Sebastian Vettel has signed an extension to his Red Bull contract, taking it to the end of 2015.

The German, who is 25 now and will be 28 at the end of the new agreement, has been linked with long term moves to Ferrari and Mercedes in recent months, but Red Bull has been able to secure his signature on a fresh deal, albeit only another year. There have been rumours that Vettel had some kind of understanding with Ferrari. Italian sources say that Alonso has been working behind the scenes to ensure that the team does not pair him with Vettel.

A simple statement, with no quotes from Red Bull or Vettel, said:

“Infiniti Red Bull Racing is happy to confirm that World Champion Sebastian Vettel has extended his multi-year contract with the team until the end of 2015.

“A previous member of the Red Bull Junior squad, Sebastian first drove for Red Bull Racing in 2009. During his Formula One career, the 25-year-old has achieved 29 wins, 51 podiums and 39 pole positions. He is the current Formula One World Champion and also a triple World Champion, having retained the title since he first won it in 2010.”

Its simplicity is a statement of strength; Vettel is not leaving the team and will race for a further two seasons before the subject of his future arises.

However 2015 will come around soon enough and from Vettel’s side this is not a long term commitment, like the five year contract Fernando Alonso made with Ferrari in 2011. Vettel will have been mindful of the position of Adrian Newey and the contract period is likely to be similar to that of the design genius.

In other words, its a cagey deal this one. Nudging the relationship forward, rather than a long term statement of commitment.

Alonso is committed to the Scuderia to the end of 2016, so the contract is not aligned with Vettel’s.

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes contract is aligned with Vettel’s, three years starting this season.

Now Red Bull turns its attention to the other car. There is speculation that Mark Webber is set to leave the team and be replaced by Kimi Raikkonen. After the Malaysian Grand Prix fallout with Vettel, Webber’s place in the team has been questioned and today’s announcement makes clear that Vettel is Red Bull’s man for the long term. Webber will be 37 in August.

The Australian usually does his contract renewal around the time of the British Grand Prix, so all eyes will be on him when F1 next reconvenes at Silverstone in two weeks time.

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1

Alonso is a great driver but he loses credibility by blocking Hamilton and Vettel as his team mates. I am sure he is happy with Massa playing second fiddle, his performance has been poor since the accident and he needs to make this his last season.

Vettel not signing a long contract is very interesting, he of course is in the driver’s seat (pun intended). Is he really following Newey? I would put money on him joining Ferrari like his idol Schumacher.

2

Like most I’d love to see Kimi head to Red Bull. I think he’d struggle in qualifying against Vettel but there aren’t many more consistently quick drivers come Sunday. Kimi’s struggled over one lap since 2007 (remember his quali brilliance in his McLaren years) but people forget that he was rarely outpaced by Massa on race day, even in 2008 when Massa had his anno mirabilis.

Webber to Ferrari for one year to close his career would be nice.

3

Vettel clearly feels he has the measure of Webber at the moment, and the results would support this, but Kimi – a world champion on form – would be surely be something else.

If Vettel really is fine with Kimi joining then he must be hugely confident in his own abilities.

Sadly Lotus seems like a bit of a sinking ship, so if Kimi feels compelled to leave *but* (for argument’s sake) there is no RBR seat for him, would Ferrari be realistic? No one is talking about this but I’m interested.

4

What’s the chances of Webber going to Ferrari just out of spite? We has not defeated Vettel for a long time. Would he go there to help FO win the constructor’s championship for Ferrari over Red Bull? The constructors is far more valuable to a team. Be a clever way to claw back some equality from RBR? It would be helping out a mate, which is the Australian way!

5

I am afraid warren

Ferrari have offered webber contract earlier this season which he should have accepted in my opinion.

Weeber has already paid the price in malaysia and will continue to suffer mentally within RBR

6

I would love to hear James opinions on kimi v seb in the red bull. Kimi in his prime 2003- 2006 flat out speed wins in my opinion. Not sure about now tho?

7

I don’t think anyone would beat VET in a Red Bull on current form

8

Little too much of a statement james.

Vettel is not a unbeatable driver by any means.

PDR have already commented this many times

Vettel is beatable (Lewis, Kimi, Alonso, Rosberg, JB or even Massa) are capable enough to do this in a Equal machinery.

Webber has suffered massively within RBR which has dented his confidence ever since 2010.

9

“Vettel is beatable (Lewis, Kimi, Alonso, Rosberg, JB or even Massa) are capable enough to do this in a Equal machinery.”

I almost fell off my chair laughing!

Lewis- similarly drove for a frontrunner for most of his career like Vettel, except he actually started with Mclaren. Definitely a great driver like Vettel, but prone to squandering chances (2007 championship, many wins in 2011).

Fernando- The driver I do see matching Vettel. On the other hand, he’s 36 points behind now in a car capable of beating Red Bull.

Kimi- Performance fluctates from brilliant to “beaten by Massa”.

Nico R- Decent now, but didn’t really make an impact for about 5 years at Williams.

Jenson, Felipe- You’re out of your mind if you think these two would be near Vettel. Neither made an impact until being parachuted into the best car, with little justification, and even then, Massa has devolved into a joke of a driver, while Button’s lack of ability was exposed in 2012.

10

Any of the people you listed can beat Vettel in one or some races. But I agree with James that they would not beat him (in a season). His current level of consistency & focus, unstoppable belief in himself and his team, ever-lasting obsession in climbing the record book, insatiable appetite for winning, up-ward momentum, youth, and possession of God’s favor…

Hamilton – has proven his ability to self destruct, managed to lose 2007 WDC, and got behind Button afterwards.

Kimi – doesn’t care enough, somehow managed to finish behind Massa in 2008

Alonso – almost no weakness except qualify and occasional wrong focus – the “Vettel is due for some bad luck” thing for example

Rosberg – there are two of him, one is brilliant, the other is a 2nd driver at best

JB – often needs others’ mistakes to get ahead

Massa – fast as a test driver, below average in the rain, passed his prime years ago, on the verge of losing his seat

11

If you imply that Vettel is aligning his contract to that of Newey(and he did that when he last signed as well), then it tells me that he knows very well that it’s Newey’s cars that give him the edge over the competition. as Alonso stated last season. He should go to a team with no Newey and show us his mettle

12

There is nothing concrete that says he is only staying because of Newey, is there? It isn’t and shouldn’t be a requirement that a driver moves to suddenly prove themselves to anyone.

13

+1

Vettel knows what side his bread is buttered on.

14

Forgive me if i’m wrong…been watching F1 since i was old enough to walk n talk…

F1 has always been about managing “something”…in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s the cars weren’t nearly as bullet proof as they are now, so it was a balancing act of driving as fast as necessary, as slowly as possible…we argue about tyres but can anyone rememeber the 1st turbo era when it was fuel consumption that needed management, and even tyre management…in ’89 Prost made the wrong tyre choice and was (if i’m not mistaken, and too lazy to check on google!) lapped by Senna in the same car…management is a part of racing…Monaco was extreme because track position is so important, so maybe not fully representative…

Here’s me being devil’s advocate though…

RB and herr Vettel properly moaned about the tyres after Spain, and even prior. Now that they dominated in Canada…are they still going to complain? It seems they found a sweet spot because from the Tv images you couldn’t really see much graining or blistering on the tyres, as compared to the Mercs and Mclarens which couldn’t get the rubber to last…

I still want Kimi in RB. Vettel need that benchmark, and Kimi in a half decent car is lightning…LOL can you imagine him telling Christian Horner “leave me alone, i know what i’m doing” whilst driving rings around Golden boy Vettel??

15

“I still want Kimi in RB. Vettel need that benchmark, and Kimi in a half decent car is lightning…LOL can you imagine him telling Christian Horner “leave me alone, i know what i’m doing” whilst driving rings around Golden boy Vettel??”

What a minute, Kimi benchmarks in Grosjean/Massa are way better than Webber? As it stands, I fail to see how Raikkonen, who’s driven his share of fast cars, like Vettel, but never dominated a season, 2011 style, would beat Vettel over a season.

16

Points.

17

And I don’t think Kimi would score more points than Vettel, never mind an amount that would suggest he was “driving rings” around Vettel.

18

“F1 has always been about managing “something”’

I don’t know why people keep trotting out this line. Yes, there is always some limiting factor which has to be managed. But this is the first time in history that the factor in question has been tyres which were *designed* to be bad.

It’s no different than if they fitted the cars with deliberately weak engines would would blow up if you went too fast on them, and some bright spark came out with “Don’t forget, Lauda and Clark had to deal with engine blow-ups so this is nothing new – in fact it’s keeping up tradition!”

20

kimi to redbull ?

vergne to lotus ?

21

Hi James, a difficult question as it relates to a BBC colleague. David Coulthard is going on about Canada being a return to F1 as it should be as drivers were able to push and the tyres weren’t an issue for once. For me, the Canadian Grand Prix wasn’t as exciting as Monaco, which Coulthard described as ‘rubbish’. I feel Coulthard’s association with Red Bull is leading him to being a mouth-piece for that team against Pirelli and my view is that commentators need to be independent otherwise their point of view can’t be trusted.

Do you think Coulthard’s Red Bull connections are a problem when he’s airing his views? I was a fan of his when he raced but now I think he needs to decide if his career is with Red Bull or the BBC, and would like to know your opinion on this. Thanks.

22

Monaco was a rubbish Grand Prix. When a caterham stops for a pit stop and is 2 seconds a lap faster than the leaders u know something isn’t right.

23

It’s a fair question.

There are mixed views among ex drivers on this. Some thing it’s always been a skill to manage tyres others don’t like the idea of not being able to push all the time.

But Monaco was an extreme because it was Merc’s tactic, given that it’s so hard to pass and they wanted to try to do one stop

24

Well, when I was racing Karts I always had to watch after my tyres and you couldn’t wait to replace one tyre with fresh rubber before the final as the rules allowed you to.

25

James, I think a lot of fans were frustrated by the inability to defend position in China and Barcelona against faster cars. I think that having both fast degrading tyres and DRS ment that cars weren’t really racing, but effectively running time trials at the same time and place.

I preferred Canada and Austin last year, where DRS stopped the race being processional, while the tyres allowed defence of position. I’ll take these tyres without DRS for the same reason.

Imo, Monaco will only be fixed by having the proposed land reclamation and having the track flow into it, creating an overtaking point.

26

mmmmmfff….the thought of raikkonen in the red bull left me grinning.

fingers crossed!

(then again, gotta give one of those torro rosso boys a shot some time, right?)

27

James,

How is Button placed on contract terms ?

28

Two more years to go after this one, I believe

29

He signed a three year deal during 2011 so next year would be the third year of that.

30

What a blunder by McLaren. Executive decisions at McLaren these days simply do not live up to McLaren image.

31

Would Vettel accept a co-number one with Kimi? KR certainly would not accept anything less and with the drinks team so completely oriented towards Vettel it might be tough mentally for them to have two equal drivers.

32

Vettel will be only 28 by the end of his contract. Not even at his peak. Very good age to swap teams.

33

If Kimi joins Red Bull Seb can forget his little comfort zone

34

That is maybe what the big boss wants, regardless of outcome they will be pushing each other as hard as Rosberg and Hamilton do now.

35

I thought I noticed a glint in Mark Webber’s eye in an interview he did with Ted Kravitz before the Canadian GP. It made we wonder whether he has a deal on the table already.

In both 2010 and 2012, Mark had equal or more wins than Seb by Silverstone. RedBull signed him up pretty damn quick in those years.

In 2011 MW wasn’t doing as well. His contract renewal was delayed until after the mid-summer break. (I think it was the Spa weekend)

This year is much more like 2011. I susect the No2 drive ar Red Bull will remain open for a while.

Also, while I’m at it…why on earth would Kimi go to RedBull? Just to live with the evident favouritism for Vettel, …. seriously?

Can you imagine Kimi agreeing to give up his front wing? Would he accept ‘multi 12’

Why would Kimi leave Renault when he has so comprehensively shaded Grosjean and won a Grand Prix?

36

“why on earth would Kimi go to RedBull? Just to live with the evident favouritism for Vettel, …. seriously”

What “evident favoritism for Vettel”? Seriously? Just recently we saw RBR ordering Vettel to give Webber the win – that’s some odd “evident favoritism for Vettel”.

37

I do find it very interesting that he took a 1 year extension only. My question is why now ? Im thinking Red Bull wanted him for alot longer after the demolition of Montreal -surely a few teams have been knocking on his door for 2015 – Mclaren for one.

This keeps him open for both Mercedes in 2016 and Ferarri also if Alonso decides to step down from his thrown.

I’m really torn between wanting Kimi there at Red Bull because he would be like a kid in a candy store with a top car and team – but will he cop the BS that Mark cops – I doubt it- and oddly enough in that regard both Kimi and Mark are brutally honest ! Kimi would want equal status and I think Red Bull are really struggling with that – Im sure a contract has been on the table for some time.. But like any of these type of matters it’s going to be really tricky getting it “over the line”. I reckon a 1 year deal would be ok. I don’t think Kimi would want any more either.

Red Bull racing would be crazy to promote Ricciardo or Vergne for 2014. Given the new car formula they need someone really experienced – maybe even more so than Seb – this is where loosing someone like Mark will really hurt them. Im still not convinced either STR driver is quick enough.

38

It would be a BIG mistake. RB has Toro Rosso “program” of young drivers but they choose veteran, profesional and calmed guys. Why? Same reason Ferrari they not picked Perez. Reb Bull is looking for a respectable n2 driver and right now Kimi is the best choice. Vettels best friend in F1 is the quiet and silent man who never complained. Reputation is the key and RB wants to get one for Vettel. I said Webber’s renewal in the middle of last season was a BIG mistake also. Is interesting to see how affected their results since that moment.

39

Vettel seems to be seen as the Villian of the piece because of Malaysia and also the fact he wins all the time because of superior equipment (supposedly) and makes F1 boring…

I think if Red Bull put Raikonnen in the 2nd car next year Vettel’s popularity/stock will go up if he’s still winning. He needs that benchmark.

Webber is a great guy, but he’s a bit of a Berger / Patrese if you compare to past times.

40

The Patrese comparison holds. I don’t think Webber’s as good as Berger was.

41

i reckon Kimi to Rb would be a good move, although we could expect fireworks…doubt Kimi would dutifully follow SV if a “Multi 21” incident were to occur…he’d go hunt the kid down and race him ’til the tyres were shot…and likely punch him. All jokes aside, Kimi would be ideal in the RB> he’s got another title in him, but i doubt Lotus can keep up the development pace…it was sad to see him circulating around in the mid-pack in Canada.

SV is a great driver, no doubt, but as with Schumi in 2000-2004…winning is easier when you have the better car on race day. Although we’ll never see it, an FA/SV pairing would be exciting too…lthough methinks if Alonso couldn’t handle the Hammer in his rookie year, he’ll struggle with SV alongside…a modern day Senna/Prost situation…

what do you think James?

42

“.. doubt Kimi would dutifully follow SV if a “Multi 21″ incident were to occur…”

A lot of people seem to have an understanding of that incident which is 180 degrees out from the reality. Multi21 was a Red Bull order for 1 (Seb) to stay behind 2 (Mark). If Kimi joined RB and we heard “Multi21” it would mean the same thing – an order for Seb to dutifully follow Kimi, not the other way around.

43

I’m not James, but I agree

44

I’m not AJ either but I agree.

45

Has Grosjean got a contract for next year? Webber would fit in there nicely, with one of the TR drivers moving up to RB. SV may have his eyes on Merc for 2016. Massa’s seat might be available at Ferrari but its a tough gig there.

46

I think you got a point there. Didn’t Webber’s former race engineer move to Lotus this year?

But if Lotus doesn’t improve, then Kimi might leave.

47

I don’t know if i’m correct, but i vaguely remember Webber interested in Lotus a couple of years ago? I could be completely wrong but something about that rings a bell.

48

I really don’t think Vettel will want a top ace like Kimi in the same car – wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a condition in the new contract, especially after his troubles even with Webber. Assuming Webber goes, his RBR seat will likely go to one of the Toro guys, or possibly to Button or Massa if either of them decides they need a fresh challenge/gets shoved.

Wouldn’t be surprised to see, before or by 2015:

ALO and ROS/HULK at Ferrari

HAM and WEB/HULK/MAS at Merc

VET and RIC/BUT at RBR

RAI and GRO/BUT/MAS at Lotus

God knows who at McLaren (whoever’s left over out of the above).

Would really love to see HAM and RAI together at McLaren-Honda in 2015 or 2016. Assuming Macca haven’t gone the way of Williams by then.

49

I think the opposite. Alonso is the one who would never allow fast guys like ROS and HULK in a team with him.

Vettel would have no more problems with Kimi than he has with Mark(because it can’t be worse :D). If anything, I’m sure he would prefer Kimi, who he’s friends with, to Mark, who hates him.

Yes, I know: there are no real friendships in F1 and every man for himself, but Vettel&Kimi relationship is the closest thing we have to friendship in F1–they’ve been good buddies since 2007–and no matter what, personal relationships do matter, even in F1.

If we are talking about VET&RAI in a professional sense, I don’t believe VET is scared of RAI or anything.

50

This is great news. I wish Vettel all the best and have my faith in the team in giving him the best car and a good team mate.

I am sure there are enough get-out clauses if Vettel wants to leave the team especially if the 2014 car is a dog. So, no worries there.

51
BringBackAdelaide

I think Vettel has gone to another level this year and it wouldn’t matter who his team mate was, he’d still beat them, Kimi included. He’s smashing MW this year who’s no slouch.

Whether people like him or not, I think we’re seeing a pretty special talent right now. And he’s only 25. Compare that to the extra experience Alonso brings to the table in a very fast Ferrari.

If Massa is only contracted until the end of 2013 which I think is correct, then I wouldn’t be surprised if MW ended up at Ferrari in 2014 for a year or so, if that’s possible??

52

Webber at Ferrari would surely mean that Red Bull has to respond by hiring Kimi or Rosberg.

Webber’s point scoring at Ferrari, would transform Ferrari into a serious point scoring machine – at every race.

53

I think that’s the game teams playing now, waiting for someone to act first.

54

Aren’t there lots of contracts up at the end of 2015? Could be interesting times.

55

I think everybody is correct that Webber will not be at RBR in 2014. I think he will be on the grid as a team mate to Kimi at Lotus.

I really don’t know how Lotus could justify giving Grosjean another year to ripen – He isn’t really bringing the honey to the points pot consistently enough for a top tier team, on top of this he must have costed them a bucket load of cash at the panel beaters.

Don’t get me wrong, Grosjean seems like a nice guy, but just he’s not clicking as an F1 driver.

As people, including James, have repeatedly said WCC is where the money is at in F1 and I think Lotus would be wise to snap up Webber. Kimi & Mark would extract the maximum possible for Lotus each week.

Lotus have produced great cars over the past 3 years (capable of podiums in 2011, wins in 2012 and 2013). I don’t think that Kimi or Mark would really see working with one another as any kind of issue – Two guys who aren’t afraid to say what they really think.

Even if Lotus isn’t correct, I don’t think Mark is ready to leave the sport. If he were, he would have walked after Malaysia.

56

I think it might hit home after Mercedes leaped over them into 3rd. The Lotus is a better car than the Merc, but the combined driver pairing at Merc are making the difference. Grosjean is not pulling in the points with that car that he should … behind Di Resta and only 1 pt ahead of Button? Just not good enough.

57

But can Lotus afford to pay both? Thats why the Maldonado rumour makes sense to me, about the same as RoGro, but with a 30 million + pound cheque in his pocket. Webber would be one of the favourites to replace Kimi, but I can’t see them as teammates.

58

I completely agree. Any team who believe they have a car capable of scoring consistent points eg Lotus, Force India, Sauber; will surely be having discussions with Webber.

He has proved his ability to deliver points consistently – compared to other number two drivers such as Massa and Grosjean.

I would guess Webber is also a good baseline for car set-up etc.

And most recently – even his starts has improved!! Finally!

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