Stefano Domenicali says the door to Ferrari is open to Sebastian Vettel in the future.
German Vettel has won the past three world champions for Red Bull, is cruising to a fourth in 2013 and is all signed up for 2014 and beyond.
But the 26-year-old has always admitted an affection for the other ‘red’ team.
So amid rumours Fernando Alonso is unhappy at Ferrari and looking for a way out of his contract, team boss Domenicali had some words of affection for Vettel at Suzuka.
“Maybe he is looking for a new challenge,” the Italian told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
“He has a contract with Red Bull, we have contracts with our drivers. I would not rule anything out, but this is nothing we will deal with in the near future,” Domenicali insisted.
Undoubtedly, though, there was substance to the rumours this year that Alonso is looking to move. As recently as this week, Spanish reports said he will be Honda-powered by 2015, and possibly at McLaren even next year.
At the same time, Domenicali’s praise of Vettel is equally conspicuous.
“Sebastian often reminds me of the good old times with Michael (Schumacher) here with us,” he said in Japan.
He said there is truth to the claims Vettel – like Schumacher before him – is utterly dominating F1 at present because of his superior car.
“That’s absolutely right,” said Domenicali, “but it’s not everything.
“Michael was always able to deliver the results, which is crucial,” he added.
“Deserve or not, he definitely did it, so congratulations Sebastian!” said Domenicali.