After Ferrari told Sebastian Vettel he wouldn’t be retained for 2021, Red Bull’s Helmut Marko advised him to take a year away from Formula 1.
Marko, as the head of Red Bull’s driver programme, brought Vettel into the fold and he put his name on the map in his first season, claiming victory at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix for Toro Rosso.
The following year Vettel was promoted to the Red Bull team and later went on to win four World Championships in a row between 2010-13, while Red Bull collected all four Constructors’ titles in this time as well.
But those glory days haven’t returned to Vettel or Red Bull since the German’s departure from the team at the end of the 2014 campaign.
Vettel signed for Ferrari, but since joining in 2015 has been unable to add any further titles to his CV. And 2020 is his final shot at it with the Scuderia naming Carlos Sainz as Vettel’s replacement for 2021.
Vettel was told before the 2020 season began that he would lose his Ferrari seat at the end of the year, and it was at this point that he turned to Marko for advice on his next move.
Initially Vettel had asked Marko about a return to Red Bull, “I then advised him to take a year’s break,” Marko told Sport1, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“In that case, he would have been able to recharge fully in the meantime, and then return with new impetus and focus on the opportunities that 2022 can offer.
“I think that towards 2022 some seats could have become available for him.”
Sebastian Vettel’s first helmet painted by JMD in 1996. pic.twitter.com/mdzkcVcHYA
— Jens Munser Designs (@JMD_helmets) October 15, 2020
However, Vettel didn’t take Marko’s advice and instead signed for Aston Martin for 2021, but he understands that Vettel wanted to stay in the picture rather than take a break, and expects some podium opportunities to come his way in 2021.
But he doesn’t reckon Aston Martin could be a contender for race wins just yet.
“He wanted to stay in the picture and thinks he has a good chance at Aston Martin of making the podium,” Marko explained.
“In my view, that is quite real. But can he win? I doubt that based on that car.”
Marko also criticised Ferrari, saying the way they let Vettel go is “undignified”.
“Ferrari’s farewell is undignified, but that seems to be part of Formula One,” he said.
“I hope that this new direction will work well for him.”