'Vettel will join Ferrari - but when?'
Team just dipping 'toe in water' after saying Vettel and Alonso could coexist
Last Updated: 15/10/12 10:52am
Ferrari's headline-grabbing claim that Sebastian Vettel could "easily coexist" with Fernando Alonso was a ploy by the team to 'test the water', Sky Sports F1's Ted Kravitz believes.
In an interview published this week on Ferrari's official website, team boss Stefano Domenicali pointedly refused to refute speculation that Vettel - rumoured to have signed a pre-contract agreement with the Scuderia for 2014 - could partner Alonso in the near future.
"I think they are both intelligent guys and they could easily coexist together," declared Domenicali.
Those remarks have inevitably put the rumour-mill into overdrive and Kravitz believes that it is only a matter of time before Vettel joins the Italian outfit. The lingering question, though, is when.
"The interesting thing about it is that we all know in F1 that, at some point in his career, Sebastian Vettel will drive a Ferrari. He has said he wants to do it and they have said they want to have him," Ted told Sky Sports News.
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"So the question is when? Fernando Alonso is tied to Ferrari until the end of 2014, by which point he will be 33, and nearing the natural retirement age for a racing driver.
"It is assumed Sebastian Vettel will go there in 2014, but the question now is does Fernando Alonso want to continue beyond the age of 33 and really this is just sort of a 'toe in the water' from Ferrari to see if Alonso is happy for Vettel to join him there for 2014 and 2015 - and whether Vettel is happy to be there alongside Alonso.
"So it is just a useful device to get everyone talking and to get the drivers potentially used to being in the same team together."
The issue is complicated by the memory of Alonso's solitary year at McLaren alongside Lewis Hamilton ending in bitter recriminations and a state of civil war breaking out inside the team. However, Ted is confident that Ferrari could handle the presence of both Vettel and Alonso inside their garage.
"Ferrari are a great team, and they can run two great drivers. Even though lately it has been Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa with Schumacher as the obvious number one, and then Alonso and Massa with Alonso as the number one, I think they can easily do it. It would just be a case of sitting them down and saying guys 'whoever wins the most will be the number one' - though I think Vettel would prefer to be in the team as the clear number one."