When Sebastian Vettel’s current Aston Martin deal expires at the end of 2022, he hasn’t ruled out the idea of returning to Red Bull.
After six seasons and four world titles with Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel left the team at the end of 2014.
The Silverstone team has had a difficult time in the early stages of the 2022 season, with Vettel missing the first two rounds due to COVID-19.
Sebastian Vettel stand-in Nico Hulkenberg, indicated after the race in Jeddah that he is “eager, but not desperate” for additional outings in the underperforming car after out-qualifying Lance Stroll and out-racing him in Saudi Arabia.
After a disastrous Australian Grand Prix weekend in which he crashed twice, Vettel stated that the car has “too many things” wrong with it.
During the uncertain Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the 34-year-old scored his and the team’s first points of the season, but how much the changeable conditions influenced the outcome will be revealed as the European season progresses and teams begin to modify their cars.
In Imola, Red Bull made some tweaks to their car, which appeared to work well as Max Verstappen led Sergio Perez home for the team’s first one-two since 2016, but Perez’s contract expires at the end of this year.
Vettel has already stated that his future with Aston Martin is conditional on performance, and he acknowledged that the possibility of returning to Red Bull, with whom he won four world championships, is still on the table.
“I haven’t spoken with Christian (Horner) for a while, so I don’t know. I mean, time will tell,” he said.
However, the 53-time race winner stated that his only goal at this time is to assist in the development of the Aston Martin car to a point where it can contend for consistent podiums and points finishes.
“At the minute I think the focus is on the now and on a mountain ahead of us that we try to climb,” he added.
Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack, admits that the team needs to do more to persuade Vettel to stay and play a key role in Lawrence Stroll’s championship strategy, but he is convinced that he wants the 34-year-old to stay.
“I’m not going to speak about contracts here,” he said. “But obviously if you have a driver like Sebastian Vettel that you can keep motivated by giving him the car that he deserves, I think you would be foolish not to try to retain him.
“I understand his comments 100 percent. He wants to see progress, he wants to see the car moving forward. He’s not a driver that wants to fight for P18 or P16 so I fully understand his comments.
“It’s up to us to deliver the tool that is needed for him to perform.”
Sebastian Vettel’s prospects of returning to Red Bull, on the other hand, are very slim. Sergio Perez’s two podiums this year have occurred as a result of a reliability issue in Bahrain and an ill-timed Safety Car in Saudi Arabia, both of which cost him podium appearances and possibly a win in Jeddah.
After taking some time last year to learn “how to drive” a front-running car, it’s clear that the Mexican has made great progress, and he’s on his way to convincing Dr. Helmut Marko and Christian Horner that he deserves another year.
If that fails, Pierre Gasly has stated that he intends to join Red Bull by 2024, and Dr Marko has already stated that the team “doesn’t want” to lose the Frenchman, who appears to be on the verge of leaving AlphaTauri regardless of what happens with Red Bull at the end of next season.
Vettel will be 36 years old by 2024, and it’s hard to see why or how Red Bull would hire a driver of that age when there’s so much youthful talent to pick from.
There is no questioning Vettel’s prior accomplishments, and no one in F1 would not want to see the German win another world championship, but it appears to be little more than a fairy-tale.