‘Vet­tel, be Scud­e­ria for life’

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

SPIEL­BERG: Fer­rari have told Se­bas­tian Vet­tel he just has to sign on the dot­ted line to stay with the For­mula One glam­our team next sea­son.

The cham­pi­onship leader is out of con­tract at the end of the year but Fer­rari chair­man Ser­gio Mar­chionne set out his team’s po­si­tion at the Aus­trian Grand Prix.

“I made it very clear that if he wants to stay then we’ll just re­new it. It’s up to him,” Mar­chionne told re­porters be­fore Sun­day’s race.

Vet­tel has de­layed con­tract talks to fo­cus on the cham­pi­onship battle, say­ing there will be plenty of time over the sum­mer, and any hag­gling is likely to be about money and the num­ber of years.

The Ger­man, a four times world cham­pion, moved 20 points clear of clos­est ri­val Lewis Hamilton af­ter fin­ish­ing run­ner-up to the Bri­ton’s Mercedes team­mate Valt­teri Bot­tas at the Red Bull Ring.

With the 20 round sea­son ap­proach­ing the half­way point at Sil­ver­stone next weekend, Vet­tel has won three races and it would prob­a­bly have been four had he been given one more lap on Sun­day.

As it was, he missed out by a mere 0.6 of a se­cond.

Speak­ing to the Ital­ian me­dia af­ter­wards, Mar­chionne said there was plenty to be happy about, how­ever.

“It was very close. We are there and our Ger­man friends know it,” he said. “They can feel us breath­ing down their necks but we will cut this lit­tle gap. I am much hap­pier than I was in the past. The boys know we have started the job and we must carry it through to the end.”

While Vet­tel leads the stand­ings, cham­pi­ons Mercedes stretched their lead in the con­struc­tors’ stand­ings to 33 points and are 5-3 to Fer­rari on wins.

But while Hamilton and Bot­tas have shared the spoils of vic­tory, Vet­tel has been lead­ing the charge for Fer­rari with more than twice as many points as his Fin­nish team­mate Kimi Raikko­nen. Vet­tel’s only ob­vi­ous al­ter­na­tive to the most suc­cess­ful team in For­mula One his­tory would be Mercedes, but the Ger­man has al­ready laughed off ru­mours of that hap­pen­ing.

“I think the way we are set up right now, we find our­selves very happy and the fo­cus is on this year de­spite the fact for next year there is noth­ing on paper,” he said in May.

Mercedes non-ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Niki Lauda has also dis­missed a move: “A Fer­rari driver, his head is for Fer­rari, and the money in the end is also there,” he said.

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