Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has ruled Sebastian Vettel out as an option for the 2021 Formula 1 season.
Vettel is out of contract at the end of the current season after Ferrari opted not to renew the four-time World Champion’s contract, leaving the German with very few options after Renault was ruled out upon news they have signed Fernando Alonso to partner Esteban Ocon.
Vettel admitted this week that he had spoken to Red Bull’s Helmut Marko and would jump at the chance to return to the team he enjoyed so much success, but Horner has poured cold water on the idea.
“Obviously the topic has been raised, we had a brilliant time with Sebastien, he’ll forever be a part of our history, but we didn’t expect him to be on the market this year, and our commitment is to our existing drivers,” he told Sky F1.
“We think we have a great pairing in Max [Verstappen] and Alex [Albon], and we think that has great potential for the future as well, so unfortunately it’s not something that we’re going to be able to accommodate.”
Asked if that was a “definite no” to Vettel being an option for next year, Horner replied: “That is a definite no I’m afraid.”
“Sebastian is aware of that. It’s unusual for a four-time World Champion to be out of a drive at this point in the year so I guess he has got a couple of choices available to him, assuming Racing Point or a year out and re-evaluate the options in a year’s time.”
However Horner can’t see Racing Point – or Aston Martin as it will be known as next year – sidelining Lance Stroll to accommodate Vettel, given Stroll’s father Lawrence owns the team.
Sergio Perez meanwhile holds a contract for ’21.
“I don’t think Lance is going to get parked,” added the Briton. “Of course drivers contracts between the teams, you never know what is within them, it’s only the contract recognition board which has full sight of them.
“I’m sure perhaps they have options or break points, but that’s really none of our business.”