Red Bull Racing has dismissed speculation that Sebastian Vettel will be lured to Ferrari in the next few years, declaring the World Champion would be "stupid" to go up against Fernando Alonso at Maranello.
Vettel's deal with Red Bull runs until the end of 2012 and his team chiefs have been making moves to try to tie him down for another three years. Yet that has not stopped talk that Vettel may be tempted by the prospect of being a part of the historic Ferrari name. Alonso himself has said he would have no problem racing alongside the German.
Red Bull's motorsport advisor Helmut Marko (with Vettel, ABOVE) sees things very differently, however, and reckons Vettel is too smart to jump ship just because of a team name.
"It is a natural thing that a racing driver dreams of Ferrari, and Ferrari looks at a great driver like Sebastian," Marko said in an interview with German newspaper Bild. "But just for the legend of Ferrari, Sebastian will not leave us. He is smart enough to know that the circumstances would have to be right. He is not going to change as long as Fernando Alonso is still there – otherwise he would be stupid."
Marko believes Red Bull has all the ingredients it needs to ensure it can keep Vettel for as long as possible.
"We are the World Championship-winning team," he said. "While we offer Sebastian a package that is better than the others, he is not going to go elsewhere just because of someone's image."
Marko is also confident Vettel can become the first man since Alonso in 2005-'06 to successfully defend a World Championship title.
"Last year, Sebastian lost 66 points because of mechanical problems," he said. "These points were virtually all given to Fernando Alonso. If we can overcome those problems and not have bad luck, then we will defend the title.
"Then there is Sebastian himself – the World Champion. He is a year more mature and is fully back on track."