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McLaren affirms Vettel was never an option for 2021

  • Published on 15 May 2020 14:39
  • comments 8
  • By: Fergal Walsh

McLaren CEO Zak Brown says that Sebastian Vettel was never an option for the team as a 2021 driver.

On Thursday, the Woking-based squad announced the signing of Daniel Ricciardo who will partner Lando Norris next year following Carlos Sainz's departure to Ferrari.

Ferrari and Vettel confirmed on Tuesday that the two would not be continuing their partnership beyond the current year, and with the door now closed at McLaren, Vettel's future remains unknown.

However, Brown states that McLaren knew it would either end up with Ricciardo or Sainz for 2021, and there were no other options explored outside of that.

“Obviously Seb is an awesome driver and a four-time champion,” Brown told Sky F1. “But I think we were pretty far down the path in the off-season and knew we would either land with Daniel or Carlos.

“We never really entertained anyone beyond that and especially with Seb's late breaking news - we were pretty far down the path at that point.”

Ricciardo 'believes' in promising McLaren future

McLaren attempted to sign Ricciardo for 2019 before the Australian opted to join Renault on a two-year deal.

However, a tough maiden campaign at Renault left Ricciardo reassessing his options, with Brown admitting that a lot of positive change has occurred in the last 12 months at McLaren which has encouraged Ricciardo.

“Getting a grand prix winner like Daniel is definitely a sign that we're going in the right direction. He believes in that,” Brown said.

“We went after him a couple of years ago before he made the decision ot to join us. I've talked to him about it since. He said 'You were coming off a pretty poor season', which was putting it politely.

“But also, there was a lot of 'this is what we're going to do' to improve the team. I hadn't yet brought in Andreas Seidl or James Key or restructure the leadership team. So there were a lot of promises and coming off such a bad season, I could see why he would go 'Let's see how this plays out'.

“And now it's played out, I've liked how it's played out and now he's seeing with the changes we've made, the leadership Andreas has brought and the backing we have from shareholders, going to the Mercedes engines, we're a team on the move.

“I think he's going to help us get to the next level.”

Replies (8)

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  • Just don't think they can afford him, really.

    • + 0
    • May 15 2020 - 14:57
    • I respect the 4-time world champ. But, setting the affordability aside, RIC is faster(cough.. 2014), consistent, and by the looks of it, hungrier than Vettel. I would have signed RIC even if i could have poached Vettel. Period!

      • + 0
      • May 15 2020 - 20:26
    • That being said, I wish Vettel finds his lost zeal and finds a good car, and achieve one more championship, before retiring.

      • + 0
      • May 15 2020 - 20:28
    • Affordability is secondary here though. I don't think that Seb would have been a massive improvement over Carlos. If it was it would be marginal, particularly on a midfield car. Would Seb be a better choice than Daniel? I don't think so. Daniel not only has a solid track record to show, but he also is an easy-going guy that would fit in easily. Seb would probably be more polarizing.

      • + 0
      • May 15 2020 - 21:52
    • @McB He was, in a car Vettel wasn't comfortable in. On more even ground? Might still be faster, probably is. And I'd say I like Ric more to boot. But the experience Vettel have cannot be underestimated. IMO, he needs to get back to a team like RB, Ferrari clearly wasn't up to what he needed.
      @ on Seb vs Sainz? Hard to tell, we've just not seen the two battle, but on a cost-to points basis, Sainz might be more efficient.

      • + 0
      • May 16 2020 - 11:52
  • Vet with his mojo back is formidable and a match for anyone. But that's the key, can he find it again? Look at Renault, quids on they will go for Alonso because he is really hungry and has shown since leaving the paddock the fire still burns - he doesn't know how to succumb. On the other hand Vettel's knowledge is surely worth a lot - but I cant see him in F1 in 2021. Now the gloves are off - I think we cn expect some brilliantly selfish drives for what remains in this season - he has a massive point to prove and you never know, maybe it is the next 10 races that will define him.

    • + 0
    • May 16 2020 - 12:53
  • Kean

    Posts: 679

    A couple of things, I saw the interview with Zak and I gotta say I find that guy very likable. I also follow our own Swedish commentator Janne's Youtube channel, and he recently said that according to the rumor mill Ferrari never really offererd Vettel a contract, all that talk is just for show. They knew what they wanted by the end of last season, so talks between Sainz and Ferrari and Ricciardo and McLaren began several months ago. This didn't happen fast. I think Vettel's only chance is Mercedes or Red Bull, but the likelyhood of him going there is very slim. But I hope that the higher-ups at Mercedes are lobbying for a German driver in the team. I also hope Vettel finds his old ways this season and just drives magically, defying team orders and pissing Ferrari off. It would make for a great show.

    • + 1
    • May 17 2020 - 09:09
    • That's the most possible version for me. As soon as Seb gets in a Mercedes, he can do miracles. Besides, I don't think the Germans will so easily offer Lewis his seventh title given that the record is held by a German...

      • + 0
      • May 17 2020 - 13:53

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