A results clause in Sebastian Vettel's contract means the reigning World Champion is unlikely to leave Red Bull at the end of this year.
Having become F1's youngest ever title winner in 2010, the 23-year-old German has been linked with a high profile move to Ferrari.
Vettel remains under contract for 2011, but it was believed that the 'option' relating to 2012 was exercisable by either the driver or the Austrian team.
But in an article published by the Red Bull-owned Speed Week magazine, it is revealed that if Vettel wins a prescribed number of races this year, and finishes the championship in the top three, he will be locked in for 2012.
The editorial said that all the speculation about Vettel's future beyond 2011 was "written without knowledge of his contractual situation" regarding the 2012 option.
"There is an option based on the results," Red Bull's Helmut Marko confirmed. "We will not just let a top driver go."
Vettel And Hamilton Had 'Easier' Route To F1: di Resta
Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton had an "easier" run into Formula One through racing's formative stages.
That is the claim of F1's newest rookie Paul di Resta, who insisted at the announcement of his Force India debut for 2011 that he feels part of the same "generation" as the 2008 and 2010 world champions.
Scot di Resta, 24, is the new DTM champion, having detoured to the German touring car series after beating Vettel to the F3 Euroseries title in 2006.
"I wouldn't say it's been frustrating, (but) they've had it easier than me," he said of Vettel as well as the McLaren protege Hamilton, whose father Anthony is di Resta's manager.
"They (Vettel and Hamilton) had different backing and that got them there a bit quicker," he added. "Looking at it they were luckier than I am, but I've got there."
Di Resta insists he is not fazed by the young champions' achievements.
"I don't want to sound big-headed," he said, "but I wasn't racing them when they won their championships. We've had some great battles in the past. Hopefully I'll get a repeat of that in the future."
His first target in F1, however, will be Force India's ever-present incumbent, Adrian Sutil.
"I would hope to be on the same pace as him or quicker than him from the start," said di Resta.