Red Bull would like to keep Sebastian Vettel beyond his new 2015 contract, and even the reigning world champion is not ruling out a longer career with the premier energy drink-owned team.
Some in the paddock, who had linked the 25-year-old with a switch to Ferrari or Mercedes in the future, were surprised when Red Bull announced last week that Vettel has added another year to his existing contract.
"The fact he has signed this extension shows his commitment to Red Bull, and hopefully the relationship will go beyond 2015, which is already some way into the future," team boss Christian Horner told the PA Sport news agency.
Reigning triple world champion Vettel, who looks on course for a fourth consecutive title in 2013, also said F1 should not be surprised by last week's news.
"There was no reason to change," he told Bild newspaper.
Some, however, have pointed out that while Vettel is now signed up through 2015, a true 'long-term' contract might look different -- perhaps a looming three-year commitment at least.
Asked why he did not sign 'long term', the German answered: "Because even 2015 is a long way away, and 2016 even further.
"Who knows what's going to be happening in three years, let alone five. Maybe I won't even be driving anymore, because the desire is gone."
Does that mean that only retirement can separate Vettel and Red Bull?
"I really don't know!" he insisted. "Maybe I will end up with another team, to find a new challenge. Almost anything is possible. But luckily I don't need to decide now."