Reports in the Spanish media have linked Sebastian Vettel with a Ferrari seat in the very near future.
Spanish sports daily Marca reported yesterday that Maranello’s sponsors and advisors are working hard to get Vettel into the team as soon as possible, with Michael Schumacher apparently personally involved.
Vettel’s spectacular performances this year – not least his drubbing of the opposition at Silverstone last weekend – will have impressed key Ferrari bosses determined to return the Prancing Horse to the top step of the podium.
The young German’s ability to set-up a winning car as well as drive it very quickly has also won him plaudits, and might be the difference between him and the current Ferrari driver line-up. Vettel has been seen to be the difference between a winless Red Bull team and a winning one. This is perhaps unfair on Adrian Newey but there is no doubt Vettel brings a lot to the table.
Marca reports that the only obstacle to the Vettel-Ferrari deal – which has been mooted by Bernie Ecclestone in the past – is Dietrich Mateschitz. The Austrian Red Bull boss is determined to keep Vettel, who has been the most successful product to date of the drinks company’s driver development programme.
But other obstacles could come in the shape of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. Alonso is thought to already have a Ferrari agreement for 2010 or 2011, and is unlikely to want a team-mate as competitive as Vettel. Felipe Massa, meanwhile, is adored by the team and has a contract til 2011. Kimi Raikkonen is widely expected to retire at the end of this season.
All the moves would presumably take place in the FOTA breakaway championship, teams and drivers having signalled their commitment to it.