Weighing up his options for 2021, Sebastian Vettel is adamant he won’t stay in Formula 1 just to make up the numbers.
The German is job hunting after Ferrari informed him that it would not be renewing his contract at the end of this season.
Linked to Renault, Red Bull, Mercedes and, more recently, Racing Point, Vettel has had one door after another closed on him.
Renault went with Fernando Alonso, Red Bull said it was a “definite no” to re-signing the four-time World Champion, while Mercedes is reportedly on the verge of handing Valtteri Bottas a new deal.
The Racing Point door is, however, very much open.
According to reports, team owner Lawrence Stroll is set to trigger an exit clause in Sergio Perez’s contract to make room for Vettel.
Team boss Otmar Szafnauer added some weight to the rumours when he refused to confirm Perez as a 2021 driver.
“It’s tough to predict the future,” he said. “Like I said, what they need to do is do the best they can. They are contracted and watch this space, we’ll see where we go.”
But while Vettel has admitted to “loose” talks with Racing Point and says it sounds “exciting”, the German has made it clear that he would rather walk away from Formula 1 than race down the order.
He told Sky F1: “It’s exciting in the way that if one door shuts another one will open.
“Whatever that door will be I don’t know yet, it might be staying in Formula 1, racing something else, saying goodbye for a certain time, for good.
“I’m not here just to participate, not here to be just a Formula 1 driver, not here to make money.
“I’m here to achieve something, and I will see whether that’s on the cards or not, that will drive my decision.
“The confidence that I have I believe I can be as good as anybody else, but things need to be right.”
Right is one thing it wasn’t with Ferrari.
Although Vettel claimed two runner-up results with the Scuderia, the 33-year-old and Ferrari never managed to make it to P1.
As such Vettel is still sitting on the four World titles he won with Red Bull while Lewis Hamilton is racing towards his seventh.
Asked if he regrets having left Red Bull for Ferrari, Vettel said: “No, I don’t.
“We had such a fantastic time together and achieved so much, we had a blast really, and Ferrari has always been a dream of mine, massively inspired by my childhood, Michael in the red car.”