Sebastian Vettel agrees deal 'to join Ferrari' in 2014
German driver will team up with Fernando Alonso when Red Bull contract ends
SEBASTIAN VETTEL of Red Bull is favourite to win the F1 title after victory in the South Korean Grand Prix, which puts him six points clear of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. But the big news to emerge from the weekend is that the two drivers are set to become team mates, with the BBC claiming that Vettel has agreed a contract that will see him join Ferrari in 2014, as long as their results are up to scratch.
News of the deal emerged after the Italian team "all but confirmed" that Felipe Massa would stay with Ferrari next season, according to The Daily Telegraph. The BBC report described Massa's contract extension as a "stop-gap" deal, designed to pave the way for the arrival of the German driver at the end of next season, when his contract at Red Bull comes to an end.
Vettel has long been linked with a move to Ferrari and now it is set to become a reality. The only stumbling block could be Ferrari's performance next season. "The contract is likely to define a position Ferrari must occupy in the title race at a point in 2013," said the BBC.
"Vettel's arrival at Ferrari has been sanctioned by Alonso, who has a say in the identity of his team-mate," reported BBC F1 correspondent Andrew Benson. "The Spaniard vetoed the idea of Lewis Hamilton joining the team earlier this year.
"Should it transpire, the line-up would produce a mouth-watering partnership which would undoubtedly be the strongest in F1 - with potential for huge friction," he adds.
Ferrari fans may be licking their lips but the deal could be disastrous for Red Bull. "Vettel's likely departure would leave Red Bull with a huge hole to fill and no obvious place to turn," says Benson.
It would also prompt a huge amount of jockeying for position among the drivers. "Vettel's deal, should it be confirmed, would give the 2013 silly season a head-start, with one of the sport's plum seats known to be up for grabs much earlier than usual," said Crash.net.