Sebastian Vettel admits he would like to return to Red Bull Racing next season, while also revealing he held initial talks with Renault before that team’s announcement that Fernando Alonso was joining it for 2021.
2020 is Vettel’s final year with Ferrari after the team chose to replace him with Carlos Sainz, while Daniel Ricciardo will be moving to McLaren to replace the Spaniard. Currently without a team, Vettel has been linked with a return to Red Bull after appearing alongside Max Verstappen on a sports talk show on Servus TV — a Red Bull-owned TV channel — and says it is a seat he would take if offered the opportunity.
“Generally, I’m of the conviction that if you want to win you have to be happy to take on anyone, so I don’t think it is question of your potential teammate no matter where you will find yourself,” Vettel said. “I obviously know the team very, very well from my past — of course I’m still in contact with a lot of people there, whether it is Christian (Horner), Helmut (Marko) or others.
“The appearance on Servus TV had nothing to do with that or potential future but Red Bull has a winning car, I believe. I know how strong they are from the past. I know they have evolved; it is 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. It’s a car you can win races in, so for sure that would be interesting.”
Pushed on if he would take the drive if offered, Vettel replied: ”It’s a winning car and I’m here to compete, I’m here to win, so probably the answer would be yes.”
Alonso was announced as Ricciardo’s replacement at Renault on Wednesday, and Vettel admits he had tentative talks with the team about a drive in 2021.
“I haven’t at this stage made a decision (on my future) yet. I’m not taking any pressure. Obviously we’ve all seen Fernando coming back — good for F1, we’ll see how he gets on. But, independent of that, looking at myself I’ll take the time that I need to take a decision.
“Everything is an option at the moment — carry on, have a break, or retire. I haven’t made a decision yet — it depends on what sort of options there are around. (It’s) not a secret I’m competitive; I’ve achieved so much in this sport and interested in achieving more, not just in taking part. We’ll see what happens and take it from there.
“Yes, I did (talk to Renault), but at no point concrete enough or … fundamental talks or real talks. As you’ve seen, they’ve gone a different direction, so it doesn’t change much for me. I want to take the time I need to decide.”
Another team Vettel was asked about is Racing Point, and while he was less committal about talks with the future Aston Martin team, he acknowledged that the team’s level of competitiveness this season has caught his eye.
“I think Racing Point left a very strong impression, and are certainly are in a good place for this year,” he noted. “I know some members of the team quite well from my past and for a long time. It’s obviously a good opportunity for them this year, to have a good car to fight with and try and improve from there.”