Is a Vettel/Red Bull reunion still possible for 2021? Well, maybe

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Could Sebastian Vettel return to Red Bull next year? Well, recent comments suggest there might still be a chance.

The four-time world champion is of course without a seat for 2021, after Ferrari decided to part ways with the 33-year-old at the end of 2020.

But this past weekend in Austria, Vettel made it clear that he still has more to give in Formula 1 and is looking for potential opportunities.

While not exactly a rare occurrence over the past five years, Seb was also pictured speaking with Red Bull boss Christian Horner and advisor Helmut Marko in their paddock office at the Spielberg track.

And earlier in the weekend, Marko's tone changed slightly when it came to the possibility of a reunion.

“Sebastian is looking for a race-winning car for the next season,” he was quoted as telling Red Bull-owned ServusTV. 

“At Ferrari, it didn’t work for him.

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"We have legal contracts with Max Verstappen and Alex Albon. That is why the discussions with Sebastian were friendly, but in this regard, we could neither encourage him nor give hope.”

What may have worried Red Bull though was Albon finished four-tenths slower than Max Verstappen in qualifying in Austria, and was also largely anonymous in the race before the clash with Lewis Hamilton on much faster tyres.

So if that gap doesn't close, could that potentially open the door for Vettel?

'I wouldn't have a problem with that," Verstappen told ServusTV of a possible partnership. "I already had that with Daniel Ricciardo and it worked fine, but, in the end, it's not my decision."

In the same interview, Horner would rule out Vettel as an option but equally doesn't wish to see the German leave F1.

“We have so many special moments with Sebastian,” he said. "38 races won together, the four titles. That was an incredible time even at this stage of his career.

“If he leaves Formula 1, it would be a loss but of course times change.

“We have two drivers who are doing a great job. It would be difficult to see how we could get him down there now because we wouldn’t have expected him to be on the market now.

“We never expected that he would be so rudely thrown out by Ferrari, practically not getting a new contract.

“We had a really great working relationship with Seb and now exactly the same with Max," the Briton added.

“With Albon you also can’t overlook that he is developing very well. The timing is actually unexpected – and for Sebastian at least as much as for the rest of F1.

“The big question is, what is Mercedes doing? Does Lewis [Hamilton] continue, does he stop? Do they keep [Valtteri] Bottas? You have to take that into account.”

Well, answers to those questions appeared to come from Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius when asked about the possibility of signing Vettel.

“We’re staying with our two boys,” he told Sky Deutschland.

“I can understand that this is a very exciting thought for the German fans, but with Lewis and Valtteri we already have two top drivers who perform at the highest level.

“We stand by the two drivers that we have now.”