Red Bull Racing has confirmed that it will retain Sebastian Vettel until at least the end of the 2014 season.
A contract extension agreement had been reached between the World Champion and his team as part of a push by Red Bull to secure its title-winning package for the long term. The team has now officially announced the new deal, ending speculation that Vettel could move to Ferrari or Mercedes in the near future.
Senior technical personnel, including ace designer Adrian Newey, are believed to have also had their Red Bull Racing deals extended. "This includes around 50 people of the upper and middle management – basically everyone who is important for securing RBR's top level performances," said Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, who added that a new deal for Vettel had always been a formality.
"It was in mutual agreement that we extended Sebastian's contract to 2014," he explained. "Both sides wanted to continue the partnership, so it was no big issue."
Vettel's teammate Mark Webber has yet to be confirmed beyond 2011.
Although Vettel has only driven for Red Bull Racing since 2009, the drinks company has backed his career since 1998. He was the leading light of its extensive young driver development program, and drove for Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso from mid-2007 to the end of 2008, famously winning that year's wet Italian Grand Prix in one of the greatest upsets of Formula 1's recent history.
Vettel starts his title defense as the championship favorite following Red Bull's very strong winter testing form, but the German said he was not getting carried away about the performance of the RB7 yet.
"It is only a winner after it has won a race, and we haven't had a race yet," Vettel said. "What is true is that the car feels good and the reliability is there. We were also already pretty satisfied with the speed of the car at the first test in Valencia and have since then systematically built on all those factors. Now let's go racing and see who has done his winter homework the best."