Sebastian Vettel ‘Not An Option’ To Replace Perez – Marko

Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel’s top-team return to Formula 1 appears to be off the table for now.

The retired quadruple world champion has been hinting at a potential return, and even shook off the rust of two years on the sidelines with an extensive test in Porsche’s Le Mans hypercar recently.

However, sources have now told the major German newspaper Bild that Vettel, 36, is not regarded by Toto Wolff as a serious option to replace Lewis Hamilton next year.

And now Dr Helmut Marko, who brought Vettel into F1 and oversaw the German’s four consecutive titles, says the 53-time grand prix winner will not be returning to Red Bull.

“What?” Marko told Osterreich newspaper. “Vettel should come to us?

“No, that’s not an option,” he insists.

What is clear, however, is that despite an upsurge in Sergio Perez’s form so far in 2024, the Mexican driver has not yet done enough to secure a new contract beyond 2024.

Arguably a more attractive option for Red Bull would be the on-form Ferrari refugee Carlos Sainz, who is being pressed by Audi-owned Sauber for a quick decision about his future.

“We won’t let ourselves be put under pressure,” Marko insists. “Audi obviously wants a decision, but we’re taking a calm look at everything.

“When we have enough of an overview, we will decide on our drivers.”

It is rumoured that, as part of the warring Austria vs Thai factions at Red Bull, Christian Horner’s preferred option for 2025 is the British-born Thai driver Alex Albon.

The rumours suggest Horner even believes Albon, who currently drives for Williams, could win the drivers’ title in a Red Bull.

“For that to happen,” Marko responded, “Albon would have to sit in our car. But he has a contract until the end of 2025.”

Also rumoured is that, at Suzuka, Perez and his sponsors asked Red Bull for a new three-year contract extension.

“Everything is an option,” Marko said. “Our team is working very well at the moment.

“But if he (Perez) has a secure contract for two years, there is a risk that he will slack off.”

Marko also seemed to dismiss reports that Suzuka was his final race in his position, amid suggestions he is no longer able to work with Horner – and has been sidelined from the driver talks.

“I’m discussing everything with Mr Horner,” Marko said. “Business as usual.”

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