Aston Martin were ‘100% tempted’ to bring Sebastian Vettel back with duo still in contact
Fans’ dreams of seeing Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso race in the same Aston Martin team was closer than many knew to becoming a reality.
With Lance Stroll facing his own race to be fit following his pre-season bike injury, thoughts naturally turned to who might replace him.
Given Felipe Drugovich had minimal time spent in the car and zero experience in an F1 race, the idea of Vettel, who retired last year, returning for one more race was floated around.
Eventually, Aston Martin confirmed that Drugovich would replace Stroll if the Canadian was unable to compete but team principal Mike Krack has now revealed that a Vettel return was closer than many knew.
Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Krack said the team “100%” considered approaching Vettel.
“Yes 100% but we didn’t do it,” the 51-year-old replied when asked if they thought about bringing Vettel back.
“Because we have such a high respect for Sebastian and his decision that he made at the time that I think it would not have been correct even to us. We wanted to respect the way he was and we didn’t want to put him in any difficult position.”
Not much has been seen of Vettel since his retirement with an appearance at January’s Race of Champions his one public outing as he spends some much needed time with his family, but Krack revealed that he had been in touch and congratulated the team on their podiums.
Scrapping practice sessions would hurt the F1 product, not help it
Toto Wolff discusses when he would ‘pass the baton on’ to someone else at Mercedes
Bernd Maylander on Lewis Hamilton’s habit of ‘hiding behind the Safety Car’
“We were in touch for the new year obviously,” Krack said. “But then also, Sebastian was Sebastian. [He was] congratulating us, very gentleman [like], on our first podium in Bahrain.
“I always said to him ‘you know, this is also your merit’ because he brought us really one step up over the previous two years.
“He brought us up in a lot of areas where we have learned a lot and we have progressed a lot. So he has certainly [played] his part in where we are now.
“But he’s comfortable with that. He was not in any kind of regretting [stage] or whatever, because he was very conscious about his decision when he made it and I think the respect between himself and the team or the respect between himself and myself is really shown by this great moment of sort of congratulating us.
“That was really, really appreciated and I also relayed it to the whole team.”