Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne says that Sebastian Vettel never asked the team for a one-year deal. Ferrari announced last week that the German had signed a three-year extension with the Italian squad, as his contract that he signed in 2015 was set to expire at the end of the current season.
Rumours sprung around the paddock before the extension was signed that Vettel was only interested in a one-year deal, in order to keep his 2019 options open. However Marchionne told Sky Sports in Italy that no such conversation took place.
"If he did ask for a year, I'm unaware of it. The only thing we ever talked about was whether it was a two or three-year deal. I think he's happy here. I made that comment in the past. I told him he was free to sign up anytime he wanted to. I like Seb a lot. I think he's matured a lot even though he's a world champion multiple times over. I think he's matured a lot in the last year. He's a Ferrari man. Those things you don't get out of your blood."
Ferrari has stepped up in 2017 and risen to the challenge of Mercedes who have dominated the sport for the last three seasons. Vettel leads the driver standings by seven points and reported after the Belgian Grand Prix that the team has no need to fear any circuits.
"We'll take it as it comes in that shape, but obviously the objective is to try and clean this up," Marchionne continued. "There's been a huge development of the car since the beginning of the season. The rest of the season, this race excepted, seems to be more favourable to the characteristics of our car.
"If that's true, then I think it's going to be an interesting dog fight between us and Mercedes right to the end, and it'll be a great season. I think it's going to be the stuff that Formula 1 should be made of as a sport.''
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing