Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel 'set to join Ferrari' in 2014

 

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel is set to join Ferrari for the 2014 season, according to reports today.

According to the BBC, the Red Bull driver has already signed a contract with the Italian team that allows him to join them in 2014 depending upon the Italian team's performance next season.

The report suggests the German two-time world champion will replace Felipe Massa, and become team-mates with Fernando Alonso, who has sanctioned the move.

Despite the reports, Red Bull have issued a flat denial that Vettel will leave, saying: "The BBC article is factually incorrect. Sebastian will be with the team in 2014."

Ferrari have also distanced themselves from the report, as well as claims that Red Bull designer Adrian Newey could also join them.

Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo is quoted as saying: "Today the problem is not with drivers. 2013 is still to come but I don't want to have two roosters in the same henhouse, rather two drivers who race for Ferrari and not for themselves," he said.

"I don't want problems and rivalries, which we didn't have between [Michael] Schumacher and [Eddie] Irvine, between Schumacher and [Rubens] Barrichello, between [Fernando] Alonso and Massa or Massa and Schumi or Massa and [Kimi] Raikkonen. As for Newey, I can say that he is very good at his job but we also managed to win eight constructors' titles in the last 13 championships without him: I have huge faith in our own engineers."

Should the report be true, it represents another huge defection in Formula One following the recent announcement that Lewis Hamilton would be leaving McLaren to join Mercedes (a story also broken by the BBC).

Vettel has been with Red Bull since 2009 and before that was at their feeder team Toro Rosso. The German holds a number of records, including the youngest driver to score a point in Formula One, which he did at the US Grand Prix in 2007 at the age of 19 years and 349 days. He is also the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix and the youngest ever world champion.

 

 

Teaming up with Alonso would ensure the Prancing Horse have the most high-profile line-up in Formula One. Alonso, also a two-time world champion, reportedly agreed to Vettel joining, with the Spaniard contractually allowed a say in the identity of his team-mate. It is understood he vetoed a possible move for Hamilton having fallen out with the Briton when the pair drove together at McLaren.

Massa, who has struggled since returning from a serious injury, will depart. The 31-year-old Brazilian's future has been the subject of speculation ever since the accident at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Mark Webber was at one point linked with a move to replace him. That speculation ended when the Australian signed a new contract with his current team earlier this year. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg was also linked with Massa's seat.

A slight improvement in recent weeks, which saw Massa finish second at the Japanese Grand Prix - his first podium for almost two-years, as well as an impressive display in Korea yesterday, look to have ensured he remains with Ferrari until Vettel makes the switch.

When asked if Massa would remain with Ferrari in 2013, team principal Stefano Domenicali said: "You will know what will be our situation on that very soon."

He added: "I am very happy [with Felipe]. He did an excellent race and qualifying, but he has done an excellent job over the last couple of races and this is very promising for the end of the season.

"I think he is understanding the car better, understanding the tyres better.

"Felipe we believe is a very strong driver, otherwise we would already have taken a different decision [for 2013], and now Felipe has the understanding of the car and the tyres under his control, he is performing at the level he should."

The news of Vettel's possible switch to Ferrari adds another element to what is already turning into a competitive duel between himself and Alonso for this year's title. Vettel's win in Korea saw him take the lead in the drivers' standings by six points from Alonso with four races remaining this year.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project