Ferrari Offers Sebastian Vettel 3-Year, $138.5 Million Contract Extension, Report Says
The four-time world champion could make or break next year’s free agent market.
Speculation regarding Ferrari's 2018 team of drivers has been relentless over the past year. Talks of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen leaving the Maranello staple have left questions unanswered, and the sport has been overloaded with hypothetical "what ifs." Drivers from other teams have voiced their opinions—or rather, intentions—of jumping ship to the boys in red after this year is over...but Ferrari has reportedly put up an offer capable of stopping these conversations by extending a three-year, $138.5 million extension to Vettel.
Reports from French publication Auto Hebdo, found via Autoweek, indicate that Vettel was offered the extension this week in order to secure him past the end of 2017.
Vettel has remained mostly quiet on his future with the team, aside from noting that if he were to stay with Ferrari, his friend and teammate Kimi Raikkonen must also be offered a new contract. The Finn was reportedly given a $5.7 million renewal option, though he hasn't officially responded to the proposal.
Rumors swirled after Vettel invited Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff to his 30th birthday party in Switzerland, making some think that he could be interested in a switch to Ferrari. Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner was quoted saying, "I would think he's got Toto in his ear saying, 'Extend for a year (at Ferrari).' And then he's probably got Ferrari saying, 'It's three years or nothing,'" according to Autoweek.
Horner also believes that Vettel has a major influence on the field of free agent drivers.
"I think the situation in the drivers' market depends on Sebastian Vettel," said Horner. "But what is clear is that there will be no change at Red Bull Racing."
Vettel has yet to accept or decline Ferrari's offer, the report said.
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