Red Bull Racing has confirmed a one-year extension to its contract with Sebastian Vettel, leaving the German perfectly positioned to be on the market when some of his key rivals come off-contract.
The contract extension – announced via a very brief media release from the team overnight – means the German will remain with the Milton Keynes squad until the end of the 2015 season.
Despite his successes – three World Championship crowns in a row, 29 wins, 51 podiums and 39 pole positions – the 25-year-old commands a surprisingly small salary by F1 standards, believed to be in the region of about $15 million for this year, with some points bonuses to augment the number.
The current deal was understood to have had a host of lock-in clauses geared in Red Bull Racing’s favour, and his win last weekend in Canada probably allowed the team to take up its ‘first-dibs’ option on his services for another year.
But the fact that the extension is in place for just one year is interesting in itself, as it would indicate that the team will now need to start renegotiating a new contract in order to keep its star driver on its books.
Both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have contracts running through until the end of the 2015 season, which leaves Vettel potentially on the market to both Ferrari and Mercedes – assuming of course that those teams’ respective star drivers don’t stay on…