Sebastian Vettel was never a consideration for the McLaren Formula 1 team when it was deciding its 2021 driver line-up, according to CEO Zak Brown.

The 2021 driver market sparked into life this week when Ferrari and Vettel announced they would be parting ways at the end of the season after contract talks broke down without agreement. 

Ferrari snapped up Carlos Sainz from McLaren to replace Vettel, while the Woking outfit agreed a multi-year deal with current Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo to join the team next year.

Vettel had also been linked with the spare McLaren seat but Brown says the four-time world champion was not on the team’s radar.

"Obviously Seb's 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.”

And Brown, who believes Vettel may end up retiring from F1 when his current contract expires at the end of the 2020 season, has tipped further fireworks at Ferrari between Vettel and teammate Charles Leclerc before the German’s eventual departure.

"Clearly it's not a nice environment inside the Ferrari garage at the moment with the drivers and management, it seems to not be a happy family at the moment," he explained.

"Which I think is going to make for some pretty exciting racing in 2020 because I think we saw in Brazil the fireworks that were inevitable and building up... I'm anticipating more of that this year.

"It really depends, if Seb looks around, it doesn't look like there's a Mercedes or Red Bull opportunity for him, there's not a McLaren opportunity for him, clearly not at Ferrari, so the next best is Renault.

"And the next question is does Seb want to go with a team that is probably not going to win in 2021? It's a great team and they too should be moving up the grid but I think unless Seb wants to restart a journey with a team that's back on a journey - then I think he'll end up probably leaving the sport unfortunately."

 

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