Sebastian Vettel, no matter wherever his F1 career takes him, will always be the prodigal son at Red Bull. The German’s multiple-championship exploits kick-started their era of dominance and their reckoning as one of the top dogs of F1.
So, it is no wonder that he shares close ties with the people at Red Bull. Owner Dieter Mateschitz, Team Principal Christian Horner, and advisor Dr. Helmut Marko still stay in touch. Hence, when Ferrari announced the news of his exit in May, he confided in Helmut Marko and sought his counsel.
The 77-year-old stringent Austrian is wishing his former protege well ahead of his move to Aston Martin. “I hope he finds his old form again. He knows himself that the last two years were not his best, for whatever reason.”
If he does reach his previous form again, he will be a glaring opponent to Max Verstappen & Co. and dent their chances of challenging Mercedes for the title next season.
However, Marko is dismissing any sort of threat posed by him simply because his team is still not at their wavelength.
“I don’t think he can be dangerous to us. In 2020, his new team was too far away from us for that. And that’s despite the fact that Perez was extremely strong, especially in the second half of the season.
“Even if Sebastian is in top form every race, as a driver he can’t make up for the gap the team had on us,” said Marko.
So, it might have been for this reason that Marko was advising Vettel to take a sabbatical and wait for a more competitive race seat to open up that could match his title ambitions. But the lure of the James Bond brand might have played a part.
“Aston Martin was very tempting. The name is cult, the close cooperation with Mercedes promised a sporting perspective. I can understand him, even if I personally would have waited.”
Vettel, as much as he respects his confidant, might want to prove him wrong, along with the people working at Aston Martin. They punched above their weight under the ownership of Vijay Mallya; with the backing of Lawrence Stroll, they could reach a different stratosphere.