Sebastian Vettel given 'definite no' to prospect of 2021 Red Bull return
"Sebastian I think is aware of that - well, he is aware of that," says Red Bull chief Christian Horner to Sky Sports F1
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 10/07/20 12:15pm
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says the team have given a "definite no" to Sebastian Vettel over any chance of re-joining them for the 2021 F1 season.
Vettel is currently without a drive for next season and admitted on Thursday at the Styrian GP that "probably the answer would be yes" if Red Bull offered him the chance to rejoin the team he won his four world titles with.
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However, despite speculation that Red Bull's senior chiefs were exploring the possibility, Horner says the reunion will not be happening.
"Obviously the topic has been raised. We had a brilliant time with Seb and he'll forever be a part of our history," the Red Bull team principal told Sky Sports F1.
"We didn't expect him to be on the market this year and our commitment is to our existing drivers, we think we've got a great pairing in Max (Verstappen) and in Alex (Albon). We think that has a great potential for the future as well.
"Unfortunately, it's not something that we're going to able to accommodate."
Asked if it was therefore a definite no to Vettel, Horner replied: "That is a definite no, I'm afraid.
"Sebastian I think is aware of that - well, he is aware of that."
Verstappen extended his deal with the team over the winter to the end of 2023, while Albon has impressed since being promoted from AlphaTauri last August. Vettel is being replaced by Carlos Sainz at Ferrari next season.
So what options are left for Vettel?
Vettel, who confirmed he had spoken to Renault before they confirmed Fernando Alonso as their new signing for 2020, is now very short on realistic options to stay in the sport.
Horner added: "It's unusual for a four-time world champ to be out of a drive at this point in the year.
"I guess he's got a couple of choices available to him. I assume either Racing Point or a year out and revaluate the options in a year's time."
Speaking to the media on Thursday in Austria, Vettel said he had not yet made up his mind about his future - and that "everything is an option at the moment".
"I haven't at this stage made a decision yet," he said about his 2021 decision. "I'm not taking any pressure. We've all seen that Fernando is coming back which I think is good for F1 so we'll see how he gets on.
"But looking at myself, I'll take the time that I need to take a decision for myself first.
"Everything is an option at the moment: Carry on, have a break, or retire. But as I said I haven't made the decision yet so it depends on what options are around. It's not a secret that I'm competitive, I have achieved so much in this sport and I'm interested in achieving more, not just taking part."
World champions Mercedes are yet to confirm their line-up for next season, but Lewis Hamilton is expected to renew his deal while Austrian GP victor Valtteri Bottas is considered the favourite for the second seat.
The new Formula 1 season is underway in dramatic style on Sky Sports F1 and continues this week with the second race at the Red Bull Ring - the Styrian GP. Find out more & subscribe.