Double world champion Sebastian Vettel has dismissed the idea that he is poised to join Ferrari, setting up a summer scramble among his rivals to claim the possible spare seat alongside Fernando Alonso.
German Vettel, 24, has been linked consistently with Ferrari for the last 18 months in the mistaken belief that he may want to leave Red Bull Racing, the England-based outfit that has brought him two drivers' titles.
But he banished all speculation - that has additionally heaped pressure on struggling Felipe Massa at Ferrari - and made clear that he is not interested in leaving the team that has backed him through his entire career to date.
"I've been wearing a Red Bull helmet for almost my entire career," he said.
"So, for me, it is difficult to imagine another kind of life if you are so used to it.
"It would be like when you turn 18, 19 and move out of your family's home. I am very happy where I am right now and I don't want to move on to anywhere else."
Vettel has a contract with Red Bull to the end of 2014, but his name is the one most frequently touted as the natural heir to fellow-German and seven-times champion Michael Schumacher.
This theory, however, has been built on little more than rumour and innuendo after his dominant display in 2011 when he won 11 races and finished on the podium 17 times in a single season.
This year, he is fighting to find the same kind of consistency and is currently second in the drivers' title race, having won just once in six races to date, following Red Bull teammate Mark Webber's triumph last Sunday in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Vettel, however, is anything but disappointed in his team and has revealed a powerful desire to show himself as a team player, and not an individual, in his reaction to the new conditions that are prevailing in Formula One.
Thanks, mostly, to the unpredictable and unforgiving nature of this year's tyres supplied by Pirelli, there have been six different winners in six races - unprecedented in the history of F1.
Vettel said: "People only remember our wins, but they forget a bit how tight it often was," he said. "Yes, [last year] we won some races in which we did not have the strongest package.
"This year, there are more candidates to win races than before. Therefore it gets more essential to collect as many points as possible in every race."
He also added that the unpredictability of this year's racing is translating into a good show for the fans. "You cannot satisfy all people every time, but I think we have a good show, a lot of overtaking, good action now," he said.
"There is more tension."
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