Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko says Red Bull would have opted for Sebastian Vettel for 2021 instead of Sergio Perez had the German not already signed for Aston Martin and that they didn’t want to sign him earlier because they still believed in Alexander Albon.
Vettel’s breakup with Ferrari ahead of the start of the 2020 F1 season caused a series of events that began with Sainz’s move to Ferrari, followed by Ricciardo’s move to McLaren and Alonso’s return to Renault.
The four-time world champion managed to arrange a transfer to Aston Martin, which left Perez without a driver’s seat for 2021, and only after the end of the season, when Red Bull was convinced that Albon was not ready for the first team, Perez was confirmed as a Red Bull driver for 2021.
Marko revealed that he suggested to Vettel not to hurry with signing a new contract in order to be avalaible for the best possible offer.
“It was clear that Sebastian was going to have another tough season with Ferrari,” Marko told F1-Insider.
“I didn’t want him to rush the decision but to wait because it was clear that significant things were going to happen in the 2022 driver market.”
“For example, I was sure there would be a vacancy seat in Mercedes. But not just there.”
“In general, I advised him to take his time. But that included Red Bull, I wanted him to continue to be on the market at the right time so he could accept the best possible offer.”
“On top of everything, as his friend and a man from Red Bull, I didn’t want the four-time world champion to say goodbye to Formula One in that way.”
Marko says that they would have opted for Vettel instead of Perez, but that the German had already signed for Aston Martin because he did not want to risk a one-year break.
“When Ferrari informed him of their decision, we didn’t have a place for 2021,” he said.
“At the time, we firmly believed that Albon would develop positively and be able to drive alongside Max 2021. That’s what I told Sebastian.”
“Unfortunately, we were wrong. When we had to react, Sebastian was no longer on the list because he had already signed a multi-year contract with Aston Martin. That’s why Sergio Perez was a logical choice for us.”