Marko: Mercedes, McLaren targeting Vettel
24 July 2014 – Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko claims that Mercedes and McLaren have targeted Sebastian Vettel.
The reigning quadruple World Champion, who has been affiliated with the Austrian energy drink company since becoming a member of its Junior Team at the age of 11, is under contract until the end of next season.
"Of course they [Mercedes] target him. And they are not the only team. McLaren-Honda made Sebastian an outrageously high offer," Marko, who previously raced in the top echelon, is quoted as saying by Sport Bild.
While current championship leader Nico Rosberg recently put pen to paper on a new long term agreement with Mercedes, Hamilton is yet to confirm his future beyond 2015, the same time that Vettel's contract expires.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff remained tight-lipped over the speculation but failed to rule out the possibility.
"We are talking about a handful of top drivers, who all the top teams fight for," Wolff commented.
"We are trying to increase our knowledge of how the market will develop before coming to a decision."
While Mercedes has one driver confirmed on a multi-year contract, McLaren is yet to confirm its plans for next season. Former World Champion Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen currently race for the team.