David Coulthard has suggested that an alliance between Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin could be a “left-field option” for both parties in 2021.
Coulthard raced for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull during a 14-year Formula 1 career in which he claimed 13 victories and the runner-up spot in the 2001 championship.
Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2020 season but has yet to announce his plans, insisting he will take time to evaluate his future.
“It doesn’t matter what you’ve achieved in the past, the respect is there for Sebastian, he’s been a great asset to F1, [he has an] unbelievable turn of speed and is still somebody who is capable of winning races and championships,” Coulthard said on the official F1 Nation podcast.
“The negotiating wheel has gone against him for whatever reason, now if that was about status and money and he wants to race then he’s made a mistake.
“He now only has Mercedes as a reasonably safe bet of performance before getting into the unknown of Renault or does he go to Aston Martin, take a shareholding, and take another phase of his career, which could be an option, a bit left-field.”
When asked whether heading to Aston Martin, which has Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll on long-term deals, was a realistic prospect for Vettel, Coulthard responded: “I used to take the view that if you could imagine it in F1 it was possible.
“Only Sebastian knows whether he’s already decided he’s retiring, or is being courted by Mercedes as a serious option in the negotiation with Lewis [Hamilton] because, as much as they love Lewis, Mercedes and Toto [Wolff] are business people, not charities, it’s not ‘Lewis we love you so much here’s a blank cheque, write the number in and we’ll work out how we’ll manage to pay you that’.
“They’ll want to pay him the minimum they can to allow more money to invest in the business and he’ll of course want the maximum. Now, money’s only one part of the negotiation, there’s other things.
“Right now Sebastian has to be in a position where he’s re-evaluating his negotiating demands because are Renault with the failed experiment in paying a large amount of money to Daniel – are they able to sell that into the board that there should be another large amount of money to someone that’s effectively been released by Ferrari?
“There’s so many interesting things that come into play – one of them could be that Lawrence Stroll has got big designs of future success for Aston Martin.
“At this stage of his career he could well be a brilliant asset to a team like that in terms of knowledge and experience of Red Bull, in terms of knowledge and experience of Ferrari, like I had with my four years at Red Bull before eventually hanging up the Nomex.”