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Marko advised Vettel to take a sabbatical

NEWS STORY
21/01/2021

Helmut Marko has admitted that prior to joining Aston Martin, he had advised Sebastian Vettel to sit-out 2021 in anticipation of the rules overhaul in 2022.

When Ferrari revealed, before the 2020 season had even got underway, that it would not be continuing with Sebastian Vettel in 2021, there was much speculation over the German's future.

Even before a season in which he scored his worst result since entering the sport - the German only contesting 8 rounds of the 2007 championship, his debut season - many felt it would be best for the four-time champion to hang up his helmet, believing that he no longer had the same drive he once had.

Others, anticipating the regulation changes planned for 2022, and a hoped for return to the sort of cars that would promote close racing, thought the German would be best served by taking a sabbatical.

Among these was Helmut Marko, the man who had recruited the 11-year-old hopeful to the Red Bull Driver Programme in 1998.

"It was clear that Sebastian would have another difficult season with Ferrari," Marko told F1-Insider. "I didn't want him to act rashly, but to wait because it was clear to me that fundamental things would change in the driver market for 2022.

"For example," he continued, "I was sure that there would be a vacancy at Mercedes then. But not only there.

"In general, I advised Sebastian to take time off. But that also included Red Bull. I just wanted him to still be on the market at the right time so he could take the best possible offer.

"Above all, I didn't want a four-time world champion to say goodbye to Formula 1 like that. Not as a friend, and not as a Red Bull man."

Indeed, in a classic, 'if we'd known then, what we know now', situation, Marko admits that Vettel would have been the obvious contender for the second seat at Red Bull.

"When Ferrari gave him notice, we had no place left for 2021," said the Austrian. "At the time, we firmly assumed that Albon would develop positively, so that he would also be able to drive alongside Max in 2021.

"That's what I told Sebastian... unfortunately, we were wrong. When we had to act, Sebastian was no longer on the list because he had made a long-term commitment to Aston Martin. Therefore, Sergio Perez was the logical decision for us."

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1. Posted by Superbird70, 20/01/2021 22:02

"Marko wanted to infect his drivers with COVID-19 to make then strong."

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2. Posted by F1 Yank, 20/01/2021 19:43

"It's never good to choose not to participate since your skills will perish exponentially when not involved, especially in a series like F1 which is the pinnacle of motorsport. Yes there have been drivers that have been able to come back but they generally are never performing at the same level they once were. "

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