|Tight wad Marko says Red Bull cannot afford Vettel. Ricciardo left the team because he was paid pittance|
UPDATE (GMM) Red Bull cannot afford to spend "a lot of money" on bringing Sebastian Vettel back to the team, according to Dr Helmut Marko.
Recently, photos emerged of the Ferrari driver attending the Kitzbuhel world cup ski event alongside Red Bull's four Formula 1 drivers.
Vettel won all four of his titles for Red Bull, before switching to Ferrari. Having lost his number 1 status to Charles Leclerc in 2019, the 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of the year.
"Sebastian wanted to pretend that there could be a return to us in 2021," Marko, who brought Vettel into F1 over a decade ago, told Auto Bild.
"But Sebastian is a four-time world champion with certain financial claims, and since we made a long-term contract with Max Verstappen that wasn't exactly cheap, we cannot afford a second heavyweight.
"He would have to do it without a lot of money, and you can't ask him to do that," Marko added.
However, Marko thinks Mercedes could be an option for Vettel in 2021.
"Sebastian is in a bit of a transfer trap," said the top Red Bull official.
"Ferrari has committed to Leclerc, we have committed to Max. Sebastian can only perform this season, which I trust him to do if he has a car that fits his driving style.
"If he clearly beats Leclerc, Ferrari has to think about him," Marko added. "And then he would also be interesting for Mercedes, and his German passport should not get in the way either."
|If Ferrari does not renew Vettel, he will likely quit F1 as no one can afford him. Financially he is set for life.|
02/03/20 (GMM) Dr Helmut Marko has all but ruled out a return to Red Bull for Sebastian Vettel.
While his own Ferrari contract runs out this year, Vettel's teammate Charles Leclerc has been re-signed through 2024.
So it was interesting that at the recent Kitzbuhel skiing world cup event, Vettel – who won all four of his titles for Red Bull – was photographed with the energy drink outfit's current F1 drivers.
Marko, however, played down speculation of a return for the 32-year-old German.
"With Max's extension, I can't imagine the two Vs being with us," the top Red Bull official, referring to Vettel and Max Verstappen, told Germany's Motorsport-Magazin.com.
"Financially alone it would be very difficult."
However, Marko said Vettel is still a top F1 driver. "If Sebastian feels comfortable – if he has a car that suits his driving style – then he is absolutely there."
He thinks one of Vettel's main disadvantages at Ferrari is political.
"Sebastian is a very straightforward athlete who doesn't want to know much about politics and doesn't want to fight," Marko said.
"Leclerc has an advantage with his manager (Nicolas) Todt, who is certainly very good in all of those areas. But he (Vettel) can counter with his performance."