Helmut Marko has played down any suggestion Red Bull has simply left the door open for Sebastian Vettel to be poached by a rival team.
As the reigning champion and 2011 title leader recently signed up through 2014, team owner Dietrich Mateschitz admitted that if 23-year-old Vettel wanted to go to Ferrari or Mercedes, then "we would let him".
However, Marko, Mateschitz's Austrian countryman and right-hand man on motor sport matters, has a slightly different interpretation of the meaning of the billionaire's stance.
He said it is a general Red Bull 'philosophy' with the hypothetical situation actually needing to be assessed "over a period of one or two seasons", said Marko, according to Germany's Auto Bild.
"The fact that someone can get out if he wants to is absolutely within the philosophy of Mr Mateschitz," he admitted., "but in an organisation that is investing a lot of money, we do need some sorts of guarantees."
Marko said he is confident Vettel will have no need to jump ship before his 2014 contract is through.
"It's not about loyalty, a top sportsman has to be an extreme egoist," said the former F1 driver.