The “Silly Season” in Formula 1 is slowly picking up speed, and even though Max Verstappen is considered the king figure in transfer chess in 2019, Sebastian Vettel is also the subject of speculation.
Should he leave Ferrari early by the end of 2020 despite an existing contract (which is unlikely, but not impossible), sources in the paddock speculate that he would be most likely to return to Red Bull.
Vettel, according to some sources close to the German, is very much vocal about how he doesn’t have the unconditional backing he had at Red Bull. Whereas at Ferrari, the Italian press attacks him after every mistake. After the controversy over the denied victory in Canada, Helmut Marko defended the German louder than Mattia Binotto.
Vettel enters and leaves the Red Bull garages and hospitality as if he had never been away, his father Norbert is often to be found in the paddock in or in front of the Energy Station, and despite the early separation (Vettel still had a contract up to and including 2015, but had an exit clause) the contact to his biggest promoter Marko and team boss Christian Horner never broke off.
One gets the impression: Red Bull wants to signal to Vettel that the door is not closed if he changes his mind about Ferrari. After all, it’s not one hundred per cent certain that Max Verstappen will stay, and Pierre Gasly is hard to count after his recent non-performance. Hardly anyone can imagine that he will still be in the Red Bull in 2020.
Horner: “Vettel is part of the history of our team”.
On Monday after Verstappen’s Spielberg triumph Horner sat with ServusTV, the Austrian TV channel, and was asked about the topic of Vettel. Presenter Andreas Gröbl wanted to know whether one wanted to keep the doors open. Horner didn’t try very hard with his answer to debunk the idea.
He says: “We have very nice memories of our time with Sebastian. He is part of the history of our team. He has won four World Championship titles and many, many races together with us. He also clinched Red Bull’s first victory in Formula 1. Of course, that’s why we have a special relationship with Sebastian.”
“Even though he’s driving for Ferrari now, he’s still coming to see the mechanics more often. He knows most of the faces,” says Horner. “He’s still a friend of the team, and he was very happy with us about the result at the Red Bull Ring. There is mutual respect and friendship.”
This goes so far that even Horners and Vettel’s children slowly become friends. Horner has with “Spice Girl” Geri a two-year-old son, Vettel with his wife Hanna two daughters. They were in Spielberg last weekend. Horner laughs: “Our two-year-old chased his daughters through the hotel!
Verstappen wins in Austria: still activates contract Red Bull exit clause
Like a curse for Vettel, for the first time this season Mercedes are not victorious, and then Ferrari screws up his race for him. Honda and Verstappen celebrate their first wins together with Red Bull Racing.
But two youngsters jumped into the breach and finally gave the fans a thrilling race again after the boredom of Paul Ricard. “That’s what you wanted,” says Hamilton, appreciative of the controversial manoeuvre, even though he struggled with the overheating problems of the Mercedes engine and the missed fifth victory in a row. The Brit has great respect for “Mad Max” Verstappen despite what ex-team mate Nico Rosberg said yesterday on the subject, declaring they “got this wrong”.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff would also have liked to break the McLaren record of………….. READ MORE
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Regardless of what Vettel says to the press, I could easily see him retire or return to Red Bull for 2020 or 2021. It’s pretty clear Ferrari want Leclerc leading the team as soon as possible and they also want Mick Schumacher there as well. Vettel would give Red Bull 2 top drivers and allow them to challenge for both the drivers and constructors WC, something they aren’t likely to do with Gasly there. Vettel would also give Red Bull a top driver if Verstappen decides to go to M-B, which I’m convinced now only happens if Honda leave F1.
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