Sebastian Vettel has boosted his preparations for his defence of the Formula One drivers' title by signing a new deal with Red Bull-Renault that will keep him with the Austrian team for the next four years.
In 2008 Vettel became the youngest driver to win a grand prix and last year was crowned the youngest world champion at the age of 24 years, four months and 11 days old when he sealed the title with a victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit.
Red Bull were keen to keep the German on board, and included an option on extending his deal when in August 2009 he signed a contract to the end of 2011.
A statement released yesterday by the team said: "Red Bull announces today that it has extended its agreement with Sebastian Vettel, meaning the current world champion will remain with Red Bull Racing until the end of 2014".
The season starts in Australia on March 27, although in testing last month Vettel seemed cautious about the team's chances despite them topping the time sheets for much of last week's final test session in Barcelona.
"It's still difficult to say," the German said. "Sometimes, depending on the configurations, we're going eight or nine seconds slower. For this reason, it's difficult to read what the other teams are doing. But this year, our car has behaved rather well in terms of reliability as much as speed.
"We know what we did in 2010 but that doesn't help us this year. We have a lot of things to resolve, new parts. That will keep us busy. We'll really see in Melbourne where we are."
Vettel is confident that Red Bull have supplied him with another good car in the RB7, and he is confident he will be able to add to his haul of 10 race wins.
"What is true is that the car feels good and the reliability is there," Vettel said. "We were also already pretty satisfied with the speed of the car at the first test in Valencia and have since then systematically built on all those factors in development."