F1 2020: Sebastian Vettel ready for Red Bull reunion but other options too

Sebastian Vettel has revealed that he held talks with Renault before they confirmed Fernando Alonso for 2021, while also admitting he would be open to a return to Red Bull once he leaves Ferrari at the end of the year.

In a detailed and candid discussion about his Formula 1 future, the four-time world champion also refused to close the door on Racing Point being an option, nor taking a sabbatical or retiring from the sport for good.

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Vettel is a big name on the driver market after Ferrari opted to replace him for 2021, although the German is adamant that he wants to remain in F1 should a team that can match his ambitions come calling.

Whether Renault would match that criteria is unclear, but after the French team confirmed the signing of Alonso, Vettel did confess that he had spoken to them about a drive.

“I’ve been such a long time in the paddock that I know a couple of people so yes I did (have talks),” said Vettel ahead of this weekend’s Styrian GP in Austria.

“But obviously at no point concrete enough, or fundamental talks or real talks. As you’ve seen, they’ve gone a different direction.

“It doesn’t change much for me, it really depends on my decision, that I’m not pressured to take in the next couple of days, and I want to take the time that I need to decide.”

VETTEL: I’D SAY YES TO RED BULL

Sebastian Vettel addresses the drivers’ press conference. (Photo by Bryn Lennon / POOL / AFP)Source:AFP

But one avenue which is potentially not closed off for Vettel is at Red Bull, where he won his four titles and who he left for Ferrari at the end of 2014.

While Red Bull have championed current driver Alex Albon as the favourite for a 2021 seat alongside Max Verstappen, speculation linking Vettel with his former team continues to swirl – particularly after he appeared on a Red Bull-owned TV channel earlier this week alongside Verstappen.

“I think generally I’m of the conviction that if you want to win you have to take on anyone,” said Vettel about the prospect of going head-to-head with Verstappen, before adding that Red Bull were a team he must consider.

“I once again know the team very, very well from my past, so of course I’m still in contact with a lot of the people there, whether it’s Christian (Horner, team boss), Helmut (Marko, team advisor) or others.

“Red Bull has a winning car, I believe, so they are a very strong team, I know how strong they are from the past. Obviously a part of the team is not the same anymore and the team has evolved so it’s not fair to say I know the team inside out because it also has changed and moved on.

“But I know why they were strong back then and they are still I think a contender and it’s a car you can win races in, so for sure that would be interesting.”

Asked if he would accept an offer if Red Bull came calling, Vettel then admitted: “I think it’s a winning car, and I’m here to compete, I’m here to win, so probably the answer would be yes.”

Verstappen, however, backed Albon to remain as his teammate.

“I was sitting next to Seb on a TV show on Monday when I got this question and I was just trying to be polite saying I could imagine it, but I think at the moment the team is very happy with both of us,” said the Dutchman.

“And I have to say I am really happy with Alex as a teammate. He’s first of all a very nice guy in the team which is really good for everyone, good with setups, and he’s a fast guy.

“So I don’t think there is any reason to change and I think Christian and Helmut can back that up. But I don’t know. It’s also not up to me at the end of the day to decide these kind of things.”

ARE RACING POINT ALSO AN OPTION FOR SEB?

Vettel driving the Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 in Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Behind Red Bull — and not factoring in Mercedes — the next fastest team on the grid who don’t have both slots filled for 2021 would appear to be Racing Point, who will become Aston Martin next year and have lofty ambitions.

Sergio Perez is signed up long-term, although Lance Stroll – the son of the team’s owner Lawrence – is not.

“Obviously the race is now extremely important for myself and then we will see in the next couple of weeks, months what is happening, what opportunities there might be,” said Vettel when asked about Racing Point.

“Independent from that, I think Racing Point left a very strong impression and certainly are in a good place for this year.

“I know part of the team, I know some members of the team quite well from my past and for a long time so I think it’s obviously a good opportunity this year to have a good car to fight with and try and improve that from there.”

VETTEL: CARRYING ON, A SABBATICAL AND RETIRING ALL OPTIONS

Vettel is obviously keeping his tabs on possibilities at other teams, but the German is also not ruling out taking time away from the sport – which the soon-to-be Renault driver Alonso has done – or retiring.

“I haven’t at this stage made a decision yet,” he said about his 2021 decision. “I’m not taking any pressure. We’ve all seen that Fernando is coming back which I think is good for F1 so we’ll see how he gets on.

“But looking at myself, I’ll take the time that I need to take a decision for myself first.

“Everything is an option at the moment: Carry on, have a break, or retire. But as I said I haven’t made the decision yet so it depends on what options are around.

“It’s not a secret that I’m competitive, I have achieved so much in this sport and I’m interested in achieving more, not just taking part.”

— Sky Sport

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