According to the BBC the world champion has already signed a deal with Ferrari that is dependent on results next season. However, Red Bull issued a flat denial that Vettel would be leaving stating that the report was factually inaccurate.
Ferrari are expected to renew Felipe Massa's contract for next year in the forthcoming few days.
Ferrari's website, in reference to queries about the chances of Vettel and Red Bull designer Adrian Newey joining the team, quoted the chairman, Luca di Montezemolo. "Today the problem is not with drivers. 2013 is still to come but 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 [Michael] Schumacher and [Eddie] Irvine, between Schumacher and [Rubens] Barrichello, between [Fernando] Alonso and Massa or Massa and Schumi or Massa and [Kimi] Raikkonen. As for Newey, I can say that he is very good at his job but we also managed to win eight constructors' titles in the last 13 championships without him: I have huge faith in our own engineers."
Certainly Ferrari's recent history has been based around a definite No1 and No2 driver set-up, strongest when Schumacher was at his pomp and dominating the sport, while Alonso is currently firmly established as the team leader. Vettel's arrival would most definitely constitute a two-rooster situation at the team. Which, potentially, with Vettel strong favourite to win this year's world championship and become a triple world champion to what at the end of this season would be Alonso's two titles, would make him senior bird in the coop.
Alonso is contractually allowed to have a say in who his team-mate is and the report states that he has sanctioned Vettel joining him at Maranello after having vetoed any chance for Lewis Hamilton, with whom he had a difficult relationship with in their one season together, the British driver's debut, at McLaren.
Red Bull, however, were insistent that Vettel would see out his contract with the team, stating: "The BBC article is factually incorrect. Sebastian will be with the team in 2014." Vettel is contracted with Red Bull until 2014 but the Red Bull team adviser, Helmut Marko, has confirmed that the driver has an opt-out clause in his contract that would allow him to leave.
"2013 is fixed for us. For 2014 there is a performance-related clause in his contract – for him and for the team. It depends on the rankings in next year's world championships. If Vettel and Red Bull slip in the drivers' or constructors' championship, he could go," he told Germany's Bild.
However, the team owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, has previously admitted that Vettel had expressed a desire to join Ferrari in the past but that his team would do their utmost to keep the driver with the Milton Keynes-based team. "Seb wants to drive for Ferrari some day. We will make it as difficult a decision for him as possible," he said. "We all know the political sensitivities at Ferrari. And he has seen with us that he has a comfort factor. He needs a team that doesn't throw a knife in your back at the sign of trouble."
Nonetheless, despite the protestations, a switch is far from out of the question. Ferrari team principal, Stefano Domenicali, has said that he believed Alonso and Vettel were: "both intelligent guys and they could easily coexist together". While in September Di Montezemolo told Sky Sports that Vettel was the driver he was most interested in.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © Gregory Moine