Four-times Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has extended his Ferrari contract for three more years to the end of 2020.
The Italian team released a statement on Saturday: “Scuderia Ferrari has extended its technical and racing agreement with driver Sebastian Vettel for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 racing seasons of the Formula One World Championship.”
The parties agreed to a record deal which will see the German bank €150-million, excluding bonuses for victories and championships which could lob another €100-million onto his earnings over the next three years.
The deal will make him the highest paid F1 driver right now, and put him up with the world’s top five earning sportsmen.
On Thursday, a day before the new deal was inked in the Ferrari motorhome at Spa, Vettel told reporters that he doubted a deal would be struck and announced before Monza, perhaps a final tactical ploy in his negotiations with the team..
No doubt helping to trigger announcement was the fact that Mercedes are said to have concluded a multi-year extension to Valtteri Bottas’ one year contract with the team. This news is also set to be announced soon by the Silver Arrows.
While it is being reported that Lewis Hamilton is keen to extend his stay with Mercedes for another three years, suggesting that the Briton will end his career with the team.
Although unconfirmed, there have been reports suggesting that Vettel and Mercedes signed an option for 2018 which is now obviously nullified.
Vettel’s commitment to the team will provide an extra boost the morale of staff at Maranello, as they seek to bring home a Formula 1 World Championship trophy for the first time since 2007 when Raikkonen bagged their last title.
Finnish team mate Kimi Raikkonen has already agreed a contract extension for 2018 – a move which Vettel applauded – and also means that the Reds will field an unchanged driver line-up for a fourth consecutive season.
Big Question: Is Vettel’s contract extension good news for Ferrari?