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Mat Coch & Chris Balfe write:
Red Bull and Ferrari have rubbished claim that Sebastian Vettel will join the Italian team for the 2014 season.
The story hinges on the as-yet unconfirmed belief that Felipe Massa will remain at Ferrari for 2013 before Vettel replaces him the following season.
The claim, which originated with the BBC, speculates that Vettel would exercise performance clauses in his contract which would allow him to opt-out of the final year of his current deal which is due to expire in 2014. Furthermore, Vettel's hiring has been given the green light by Fernando Alonso, who has veto rights on his teammates.
However Red Bull swiftly denied the report, labelling the BBC article as "factually incorrect," adding that "Sebastian will for sure be with (Red Bull) in 2014."
Red Bull's assertion is supported by comments made today by Ferrari boss Luca Di Montezemolo. "I don't want to have two roosters in the same henhouse, rather two drivers who race for Ferrari and not for themselves," he said. "I don't want problems and rivalries, which we didn't have between Schumacher and Irvine, between Schumacher and Barrichello, between Alonso and Massa or Massa and Schumi or Massa and Raikkonen."
Ferrari is the last of the front running teams to confirm its driver line-up for next season and has had almost every driver on the grid (and beyond) linked with the seat as a result. Felipe Massa is the current media favourite, just as Mark Webber, Sergio Perez, Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and Michael Schumacher were at one time or another.
It does however seem likely that the team will continue with Massa in what would be the Brazilian's eighth season with the squad after strong performances in Japan and Korea, though as yet nothing has been officially confirmed despite what some publications would have one believe.
It's not the first time Vettel has been linked with a move to Ferrari. In July it was suggested that Mark Webber would join the Italian team for 2013 before being replaced by his current Red Bull teammate for the following season. Just days later Webber was confirmed at Red Bull for another year.
Ahead of today's comments from di Montezemolo, Ferrari's Horse Whisperer was quick to dismiss the BBC story, tweeting: "There must be a contagious virus: those who think they know everything about Ferrari first emerge in Brazil, now in England!"
With the Hamilton/Mercedes saga at an end, it would appear the media is back on Ferrari's case, though it should be noted that there are some who continue to focus on the McLaren driver suggesting that his relationship with McLaren deteriorates with every passing day.
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