World master Sebastian Vettel’s frustrated Formula One chasers have been hit with a potential hammer blow of confidence-wrecking news.
Despite rumours to the contrary and with a host of rival teams only too willing to bid to tempt the 25-year-old record-breaker into their fold, the three-times champion is eagerly poised to continue his tie-up with design genius Adrian Newey at all-conquering Red Bull.
It is a partnership made in grand prix heaven — a supremely gifted driver whose towering ability converts a masterly designer’s unfailing expertise into a formidable and virtually unbeatable force.
They have pledged their trust, and race career reputations, in each other for the foreseeable future with prize catch Vettel turning his back on a switch to Ferrari.
And 53-year-old Newey, who has spurned a burst of multi-million-dollar transfer offers from opponents keen to benefit from his advanced skills, reveals: “I love Formula One and Red Bull is a great team to work for. And I do have a protective, paternal feeling towards all the guys I spend so much time with.”
Wonderboy Vettel’s sensational record in Newey-designed world-beaters, plus the crucial and shrewd strategic pit-lane guidance of team boss Christian Horner, has given the German ace 26 wins, 46 podiums, 36 pole placings and three successive crowns in just 100 grand prix outings.
Newey, with Red Bull since 2006, adds: “I’ve always maintained I do not want to spend my entire career in motor racing and certainly not F1, but right now I am enjoying it. As long as that is the case and people are willing to offer me work, then I’ll keep doing it.
“Here at Red Bull we keep egos and politics to a minimum and try to maintain an atmosphere where there is no finger-pointing. We encourage creativity. And our results and titles show how all that has paid off. Seb is a brilliant and talented driver, a one-off, and an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Vettel, the youngest-ever champion with five wins and three second places in his third title season, rejoices in his association with the design mastermind. He says: “There are two crucial points in any driver’s views — you need to feel happy in the team environment you work in and it is essential to have a competitive car. Right now I have them both.
“This is where Adrian is so brilliant. He gives me confidence — and he designs world-beating cars. It is an incredible experience to work with him.”
The record-buster, said to be about to extend his Red Bull contract for at least two more years beyond the expiry date of his current deal at the end of next season, added ominously: “I think we can do even better.”
That is just the forecast the rest of Formula One did not want to hear.
— The writer is a motorsport expert based in the UK