SAO PAULO: Sebastian Vettel has dampened speculation he is set to jump ship from Red Bull and join Ferrari in 2014 by saying he is “extremely committed” to the team who helped him claim a third consecutive Formula One title on Sunday.
The exact nature of Vettel’s contract with Red Bull is unclear, but the German driver said he was tied to the constructor until the end of 2014. Speculation has surrounded Vettel’s future at Red Bull since Ferrari principal Stefano Domenicali said in June the 25-year-old and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso could “easily co-exist together”.
Alonso, a double world champion who was narrowly beaten to the title by Vettel in Brazil on Sunday, has a contract with the Italian team until the end of 2016 and is very much the number one in the current lineup with Brazilian Felipe Massa.
“I have a contract until - I think you know better than me - at this stage, until the end of ‘14,” Vettel told reporters.
“I’m very happy with what we have achieved so far and I don’t think this story is over yet. I’m very happy and extremely committed to give everything I have, also in the next years when I’m with them.
“At the moment, I don’t see any point thinking about another team or something else. I’m extremely happy in the position I am. It’s incredible what we have achieved.”
Massa’s Ferrari contract runs until the end of next year.
Meanwhile, Vettel and his Red Bull team yesterday declined to elaborate on references to rival teams’ “dirty tricks” after the 25-year-old broke records to become Formula One’s youngest triple world champion.
Team chief Christian Horner said he and his outfit accepted that F1 was a hard sport and that they had to face up to all the consequences of success.
“It’s been a tough competition,” he said.
“Formula One is a tough business and you’re up against some tough opponents. The fastest way to become unpopular is to have repeated success. We’ve ignored what other teams are doing and have just focused on ourselves.”
But Vettel was more forthcoming when asked to explain his immediate post-race comments about “dirty tricks” after finishing sixth in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
“It was a very, very tough season for us, on track, off track -- a lot of ups and downs for everyone. But we always remained ourselves and kept doing it our way and that made the difference in the end,” he added. Asked to explain further, Vettel said: “It is unbelievable but the most important thing is that throughout the season we always kept believing in ourselves.
“A lot of people tried to play dirty tricks but we did not get distracted by that and kept going our way and all the guys gave a big push right to the end.
“I am not holy. I have my mistakes like everyone else has. But I was brought up to be honest and I also believe that was the reason why we succeeded.
“We stepped up our game in the second half of the season, which allowed us to come back in this championship. I have to thank all the team because there is no-one in our team more important than the next person.
“We are all a group and fighting next to each other and not against each other. I am very proud of that. It is unbelievable.
“And, for me, it is always most important that you are happy with what you see in the mirror. You are honest with yourself because what is the point in trying to fake something else?
“You are always the first one to know if you are cheating yourself. In that way, I think people tried everything -- inside the lines, outside the lines -- to beat us.”