During the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, Red Bull boss Christian Horner revealed that the team had “exploratory talks” with Vettel to potentially replace Alex Albon for 2021.

“We had a few exploratory talks,” Horner said. “But it would be a bit like going back to an old girlfriend, it would probably never be quite the same second time around.

“What we achieved together was so remarkable. It was such a phenomenal thing and that will always be part of our history, and we’re tremendously proud to have had him as part of our team.”

Vettel was dropped ahead of the COVID-hit 2020 campaign, leaving him without a drive for the following season.

He eventually signed with Aston Martin, while Red Bull decided to drop Albon at the end of the year, ultimately opting for Sergio Perez.

Reflecting on the decision to sign for Aston Martin over potentially returning to Red Bull, Vettel said: “I made the decision to join Aston Martin before I think it was in discussion that Alex was going to leave so it was never really close but of course, I know Christian [Horner], I know Helmut [Marko] for sure. 

“I had a brief chat with them but never anything serious and I also knew if it would have been an option or serious we’d have at least talked about it but it never came to that point. A couple of months later you can look back and think ‘what if’ or so on but I am happy with the choice I made. 

“I expected that we would be more competitive last year and this year but we were not. I am more than happy with how the team has progressed and we are working together. It’s not the dream coming true, racing in the positions we’re racing but it’s been a challenge and I think I’ve accepted it and tried to make the most of it.”

Vettel was then asked if he’d consider rejoining Red Bull in a non-driver capacity.

“I don’t know,” he added. “At the moment, I am not considering anything because I am stepping away. Time will tell what will be something that is possible to do, if there’s an offer of any such nature or not and then I will see how I feel. At the moment, I am quite happy to spend more time on other things, look forward to see the kids more and stuff like that. Time will tell if I get bored within three months or three years or I don’t know. We will see."