Ferrari links to Sebastian Vettel cloud Fernando Alonso's future

Team president says that pairing the Red Bull driver and Alonso would be a non-starter

Ferrari's president yesterday refused to rule out a deal to sign the world champion, Sebastian Vettel, but appeared to deny that an agreement was already in place for 2014.

Luca Cordero di Montezemolo used some colourful language as he addressed the latest big contract issue on the Formula One circuit after Lewis Hamilton's decision to move to Mercedes.

However, a simple interpretation points to talk of Vettel joining the Italian team having substance. When looking ahead to the make up of the Ferrari team, the president said that "2014 is still to come".

The complicating factor for him is which driver would take priority. Ferrari's No 1 driver, Fernando Alonso, has a contract with them until 2016 and Montezemolo insisted that team harmony is paramount.

"I don't want to have two roosters in the same hen house, rather two drivers who race for Ferrari and not for themselves," he said on the team's official website.

"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 [Felipe] Massa or Massa and Schumi or Massa and [Kimi] Raikkonen."

 

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By 2014, Alonso will be 33, while Vettel will be just 27, and suggestions of a deal with Ferrari come a day after the Red Bull driver overtook the Spaniard at the top of the World Championship standings with victory in the Korean Grand Prix.

Any deal would seemingly hinge on whether Ferrari consider Alonso to be their No 1 driver going forward, and if not, he may have to accept that he will have to play second fiddle to the younger man, or find a new team.

Alonso had a tumultuous relationship with Hamilton during his one season at McLaren in 2007, with neither driver willing to accept that the other was the top talent. He is also said to have a clause in his contract which gives him approval over the identity of his Ferrari team-mate.

Red Bull yesterday rejected claims that a deal had been done with Ferrari, with team adviser Helmut Marko saying: "These are untruths." And the team principal, Christian Horner, said: "Sebastian Vettel, without a shadow of doubt, will be part of the Red Bull Racing team in 2014."

Yesterday's speculation also suggested designer Adrian Newey could make the move from Red Bull to Ferrari, but this was likewise rejected by Montezemolo. "As for Newey, I can say that he is very good at his job but we managed to win eight constructors' titles in the last 13 championships."

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