F1 news: Sebastian Vettel talks to join Max Verstappen at Red Bull explained by Marko
Sebastian Vettel reflects on his first ever Formula 1 win
Helmut Marko has revealed that Red Bull were interested in bringing Sebastian Vettel back to the team to partner Max Verstappen in 2021. The four-time world champion will drive for Aston Martin next season alongside Canadian youngster Lance Stroll after a six-year spell with Ferrari.
Vettel won all of his drivers’ titles with the Bulls, claiming four successive championships between 2010 and 2013 before the introduction of hybrid power units.
After joining Ferrari in 2015, the 33-year-old challenged Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes at the top of the standings, but was unable to break through the dominance of the Silver Arrows.
Last year was arguably Vettel’s worst campaign in Formula One, with Ferrari a long way off the pace for the entirety of the season.
Despite his struggles in 2020, Marko has claimed that the German was considered as Alex Albon’s replacement before Red Bull eventually settled on Sergio Perez.
The 77-year-old, who is the team’s primary advisor, told F1-Insider.com that at one point he advised Vettel to take a year’s sabbatical amid fears that he would choose to retire after his dismal final season with Ferrari.
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““I didn’t want him to act rashly, but to wait because it was clear to me that fundamental things would change in the driver market for 2022,” said Marko.
“For example, I was sure that there would be a vacancy at Mercedes then. But not only there.
“That also included Red Bull. I just wanted him to still be on the market at the right time so he could take the best possible offer.
“Above all, I didn’t want a four-time world champion to say goodbye to Formula One like that. Not as a friend, and not as a Red Bull man.”
Marko explained that contact was made with Vettel, who was incorrectly told that Albon would be allowed to continue in his role as Red Bull’s second driver.
“When Ferrari gave him notice, we had no place left for 2021,” Marko added.
“At the time, we firmly assumed that Alexander Albon would develop positively, so that he would also be able to drive alongside Max Verstappen in 2021. That’s what I told Sebastian. Unfortunately, we were wrong.
“When we had to act, Sebastian was no longer on the list because he had made a long-term commitment to Aston Martin. Therefore, Sergio Perez was the logical decision for us.”
Vettel suggested last year that he would be open to an approach from Red Bull, citing their proven ability to challenge Mercedes at the front of the grid.
“Red Bull has a winning car, they are a very strong team,” he told the F1 website. “I know how strong they are from the past.
“It’s not fair to say I know the team inside out because it has also changed and moved on, but I know why they were strong back then and they are still an F1 contender and it’s a car that you can win races in, so for sure that would be interesting.”
When pressed to provide further clarification, the German driver added: ‘It’s a winning car, and as I said earlier, I’m here to compete, I’m here to win, so probably the answer would be yes.”
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