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Marko hoped Vettel would wait for potential Red Bull return

Ben Issatt

Jan. 18, 2021

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko was disappointed Sebastian Vettel signed for Aston Martin instead of waiting for a possible return to the team.
The German began the delayed 2020 season with Ferrari already knowing he would not be continuing with the Scuderia into 2021, with that decision and the announcement of Carlos Sainz as his replacement coming within a few days back in May.
Arguably, for Ferrari, it was the best call as Vettel went on to have his worst full year in F1, scoring just 33 points en route to 13th in the Drivers' Championship.
But Marko, who is still close to the 33-year-old, wasn't surprised.
“It was clear that Sebastian would have a difficult season with Ferrari," the Red Bull advisor told F1-Insider.com .
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But as Vettel struggled on the track, there was also ongoing speculation about his future.
“I didn’t want him to act rashly, but to wait because it was clear to me that fundamental things would change in the driver market for 2022," Marko explained.
“For example, I was sure that there would be a vacancy at Mercedes then but not only there, that also included Red Bull.
“I just wanted him to still be on the market at the right time so he could take the best possible offer.
“Above all, I didn’t want a four-time World Champion to say goodbye to F1 like that. Not as a friend, and not as a Red Bull man.”
It didn't take long for Aston Martin to emerge as the leading option for Vettel, with that move eventually confirmed in September.
However, as it turned out, Red Bull would also end up changing drivers for this season despite earlier telling Seb there was no seat available.
“When Ferrari gave him notice, we had no place left for 2021,” Marko said.
“At the time, we firmly assumed that Alex Albon would develop positively so that he would also be able to drive alongside Max Verstappen in 2021, that’s what I told Sebastian.
“Unfortunately, we were wrong.
“When we had to act, Sebastian was no longer on the list because he had made a long-term commitment to Aston Martin. Therefore, Sergio Perez was the logical decision for us.”
As it is, the Red Bull chief understands why Vettel was attracted to the former Racing Point squad.
“Aston Martin was very tempting,” Marko said. “The name is cult, the close cooperation with Mercedes promised a sporting perspective. I can understand him, even if I personally would have waited.”
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