Sebastian Vettel 'enormously unlikely' to rejoin Red Bull, says Christian Horner
"We've got a good dynamic within the team and experience shows that two alpha males doesn't tend to pan out well"
By James Galloway and Craig Slater
Last Updated: 13/05/20 1:19pm
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has reiterated that they are highly unlikely to make a move to bring Sebastian Vettel back to the team he won his four world championships with.
Vettel is now firmly on the driver market for 2021 after he and Ferrari agreed to part ways at the end of this year. The German driver, who turns 33 in July, has said he will "take the time I need to reflect on what really matters when it comes to my future".
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Vettel stunned F1 back in late 2014 when he activated a break clause in his Red Bull deal to join Ferrari for the following year but, despite 14 wins and several title challenges since, he has been unable to emulate his title-winning feats from his earlier career.
Red Bull have since enjoyed race-winning success with Max Verstappen, who signed a new deal to 2023 over the winter and is a driver strongly tipped to mount a title challenge when the 2020 season does commence. Alex Albon, meanwhile, has shown promise since being promoted mid-way through last season.
Asked by Sky Sports News if Vettel could return, Horner replied: "It's enormously unlikely.
"We have a long-term agreement with Max, and I think Alex is doing a good job.
"We've got a good dynamic within the team and experience shows that two alpha males doesn't tend to pan out well.
"Sebastian is still a very competitive grand prix driver so I don't think it would be conducive for our team to have two alphas. We're happy with the driver line-up we have. I'm sure he's not short of options moving forward, but obviously he's chosen it hasn't worked out for him at Ferrari."
Horner worked with Vettel during huge era of sustained success for Red Bull, winning four consecutive title doubles in 2010-2014 as the German became F1's youngest-ever champion, and is therefore well placed to provide insight into the man.
"He's a guy of principles, I'm sure he's thought long and hard about it, and you have to respect his decision," said his former boss of Vettel's impending Ferrari exit.
"Where he goes to from here, I have no idea. But, as I say, he's a guy with great integrity, great principles and whether he chooses to continue or not he's achieved obviously a huge amount in his time in Formula 1.
"Four world championships, he's one of the most successful drivers of all time."
Asked if he thought Vettel could retire at the end of the year, Horner replied: "He's still relatively young, he's in his early 30s, if he chose to stay he's obviously still very competitive.
"That's entirely down to him and nobody will know that other than Sebastian what his choices are. He's got strong values, he's got strong integrity, and I think he'll have thought long and hard about this."
What about Mercedes?
While a return to Red Bull has been seen as unlikely for Vettel, a switch to F1's world champions Mercedes has also been considered remote while Lewis Hamilton, the reigning six-time title holder, is at Brackley.
Still, Mercedes have neither Hamilton nor Valtteri Bottas yet under contract for 2021, although the team have expressed their loyalty to the successful pairing. Hamilton too has repeatedly indicated his desire to continue their journey together.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said they would still have to consider Vettel's situation: "Sebastian is a great driver, a major personality and an asset to any Formula 1 team. When looking to the future, our first loyalty lies with the current Mercedes drivers but naturally we must take this development into consideration."
However, the prospect of Vettel joining Ferrari's biggest rivals remains unlikely.
On the day of F1's 70th anniversary, don't miss a very special #SkyF1 Watchalong on Wednesday at 8pm on Sky Sports F1, Main Event and Mix looking back at arguably F1's most dramatic title decider - the 2008 Brazilian GP. Felipe Massa, the man pipped to that title by Lewis Hamilton, joins the Sky F1 team to rewatch a tense and emotional race