Vettel tipped for RBR switch in 2009

Red Bull protege Sebastian Vettel is likely to switch to the firm's A-team for next year after impressing the team's bosses in the first three races of this season

Vettel tipped for RBR switch in 2009

The 20-year-old has yet to finish a race this year, but his pace so far has contributed to an increasing wave of approval from Red Bull's senior racing management.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko admitted that it's likely Vettel will switch from Scuderia Toro Rosso to Red Bull Racing for the 2009 season.

"I think so, yes," he told this week's Autosport. "He's a special one and he is very developed for his age. He can be very aggressive in the car but he's also technical and well trained.

"Red Bull has been with him for eight years and we have a contract for another couple of years."

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost praised Vettel's ability and believes he has the potential to fight for victories next season.

"He is one of the best young drivers so far," Tost told Autosport. "He's been racing for 15 years so from the driving side he's very mature. But he's also really clever and I think this is a key to his success.

"Sebastian is on a much higher level than many other drivers ­both in and out of the cockpit.

"He knows he can do the job if we provide him with the right car. He has already reached a very high level and it depends which car he will get for next season but he can become a front-runner."

Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger believes the hype is justified and admitted that Vettel reminds him of Michael Schumacher.

"Michael saw him in karting and felt his potential, and that's been confirmed," Berger told Autosport. "In some ways they are similar, the calm, systematic approach, consistently improving throughout the weekend, and delivering at the end of the day.

"You don't feel the film is too quick for him. He remembers everything he does in the car and explains it to the engineers in a good way. I can be a bit critical of guys but I hardly find anything where he's missing, except experience.

"He keeps his feet on the ground and he's very confident but not arrogant. The team all like him, he's the hero. We're equal for both drivers but Sebastian has been in the team a bit longer and the guys all like him."

But Berger also admitted that, while Vettel has a Red Bull contract, he doesn't know which team the German will race for next season.

"For the next three years he has a contract with Red Bull, not Red Bull Racing," he added. "But I don't know where he'll be next year."

Read Steve Cooper's in-depth feature with Germany's new Formula One star in this week's Autosport magazine, out on April 17.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Author Steven English
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