Dr Helmut Marko has claimed Sebastian Vettel enquired about returning to Red Bull in 2021, but a deal to bring him back is “not possible”.
Vettel, who is currently due to be out of contract at Ferrari at the end of the 2020 season, has recently been in the Austrian ski resort of Kitzbuhel, where Red Bull are the main sponsors of the slopes.
While that is nothing out of ordinary for Vettel, who has regularly visited Kitzbuhel over previous winter breaks, Marko told Auto Bild that the four-time World Champion did suggest the possibility of returning to the team on his most recent visit.
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“Sebastian wanted to get a feeling whether there could be a return to us in 2021,” Marko told the German publication.
“But none of us who can make the decisions were there in Kitzbuhel.
“Sebastian is a four-time world champion and has certain financial claims, but since we have a new long-term contract with Max Verstappen, which wasn’t exactly cheap, we can’t afford a second heavyweight driver.
“That is unfortunately the case. Seb would have to come with very little money. But you can’t ask him to do that.”
Marko feels that Vettel is a little “trapped” in the driver market, but he can change that by outperforming Charles Leclerc this upcoming season and giving Ferrari something to think about – and perhaps Mercedes as well.
“Sebastian is a bit of a transfer trap,” Marko added.
“Ferrari committed to Leclerc, we have committed to Max Verstappen. He can only do really well this season, which I trust him to do if he has a car that suits his driving style.
“If he clearly beats Leclerc, Ferrari has to think about him. And then he would also be interesting for Mercedes.”