Sebastian Vettel extends Red Bull contract until 2014
World champion signs contract extension to keep him with Red Bull until 2014
World champion Sebastian Vettel has agreed a new contract with Red Bull Racing to keep him at the team until the end of the 2014 season.
The 23-year-old would have been out of contract at the end of the forthcoming season, but with reported interest from rivals Ferrari and Mercedes the Austrian team has moved quickly to tie down their prize asset with a new deal until 2013, with an option for 2014.
While the financial details have not been made public, the deal is reported to be worth a reported £8.5m for 2013, rising to over £10m in 2014, with Red Bull continuing its policy of offer significant bonuses for performance and points.
“Sebastian feels very comfortable within the team and the team feels very comfortable with him,” team boss Christian Horner told the BBC. “We started to talk about it earlier in the year and it came together quickly.”
Vettel got his first taste of F1 with BMW Sauber in 2006 before making his debut as a stand-in for the injured Robert Kubica at the 2007 US Grand Prix where he finished eighth to become the youngest driver to score a world championship point.
The German has raced for Red Bull in Formula 1 since 2009, but has been a part of the Red Bull young driver development programme since 1998, joining junior team Toro Rosso from the middle of 2007.
He stormed to victory at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix to become the youngest driver to win an F1 race before becoming the youngest world champion with his win at the final race of the 2010 season in Abu Dhabi.
As Red Bull evaluates their plans for the team’s long-term future, other key personnel, including chief technical officer Adrian Newey, who has led the evolution of the team’s cars since his appointment in 2006, are believed to have agreed new deals as well.
Discussions over a deal for Vettel’s 35-year-old team-mate Mark Webber are expected to be put back until after the season has begun later this month, with the Australian recently saying he has not thought about his future in the sport beyond the 2011 season.
Vettel begins the 2011 season as favourite to retain his title ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, with the first race on 27 March at Melbourne’s Albert Park.