One big driver name scrubbed off Red Bull’s 2025 shortlist by Helmut Marko

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen & Sergio Perez, Red Bull, 2024 Japanese Grand Prix. F1 news

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez leave the garage.

Could Red Bull pair their two multi-time World Champions in the ultimate line-up? According to Helmut Marko, this will not be happening.

Red Bull once more has important decisions to make in the driver market when it comes to forming their 2025 line-up. Their Max Verstappen exit fears seem to have fizzled out, but his future team-mate is still to be decided, as Sergio Perez battles to earn a new contract.

Helmut Marko shuts down Sebastian Vettel to Red Bull talk

Perez faces some serious competition for that second Red Bull seat, the likes of 2024 Australian Grand Prix winner and former Red Bull programme driver Carlos Sainz in the mix, while Yuki Tsunoda is also impressing in the early stages of the season at junior team RB.

But one driver now ruled out of contention is Red Bull’s four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, as Marko put a stop to speculation that the two star graduates of the Red Bull programme in Verstappen and Vettel could form their 2025 line-up.

When presented with the Vettel Red Bull return rumours by oe24, Marko replied: “Vettel should come to us? No, that’s not an option.” recommends

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Another driver who could potentially be in position for a Red Bull return is Alex Albon. The Thai racer struggled alongside Verstappen following his promotion to Red Bull after just half a season in F1, but has impressed since returning to the grid with Williams in 2022.

Marko was thus presented with a fresh rumour that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner wants the Thai side of Red Bull’s ownership to believe Albon can be World Champion with them, a mission which would of course mean re-signing Albon first.

And that is where Marko sees the stumbling block, as he believes Albon’s Williams deal is not up until the end of 2025.

“Albon would have to sit in our car for that to happen,” said Marko in response to this speculation. “But he has a contract until the end of 2025 [with Williams].”

And all this being said, Perez is not exactly making himself vulnerable to being replaced right now, having played his part in three Red Bull 1-2 finishes in four races to start the F1 2024 campaign.

He also showed a marked improvement in qualifying last time out at Suzuka to come within a fraction of snatching pole from Verstappen.

Marko is wary though of making a move too soon, as he feels rewarding Perez with a multi-year deal could cause him to take his foot off the gas.

Asked if Perez is a 2025 option for Red Bull, Marko replied: “Everything is an option.

“Our team is working very well at the moment. If he has a secure contract for two years, there is a risk that he will let up.”

The return of the Chinese Grand Prix marks the next stop on the F1 2024 calendar, Red Bull having twice won this race, most recently via Daniel Ricciardo in 2018.

The Chinese Grand Prix has not been held since 2019 due to the impacts of the global pandemic.

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