Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has denied rumours that he is considering a return to Formula 1.
Vettel, who retired from the sport at the end of the 2022 season, is still in contact with Red Bull, the team with whom he won four world championships. However, he has said that he is not interested in a comeback.
However, Dr Helmut Marko of Red Bull commented on the 36-year-old this week, saying: “I’m not sure he knows exactly what he wants.
“However, I do not believe that the driving chapter is completely closed for him.”
Vettel acknowledged that he’s still “in contact” with the team where he clinched his phenomenal victories in F1 – alongside whispers he’ll make an appearance at the Japanese GP in Suzuka next weekend.
But he indicated it’s for an undisclosed “project” – most likely environment-related – rather than negotiations with F1 teams about a potential return.
“I can’t make any announcements at the moment, but I’m also very excited about it,” Vettel commented about his imminent journey to Japan. “I am very happy to be visiting Japan again.”
Pressed on thoughts of returning to the grid, he responded with a chuckle: “There’s plenty of time to think every day.
“No one knows for sure, but I can tell you right now – there will be no return to F1.”
Vettel is clear he doesn’t feel “jealous” of the supremacy Max Verstappen is currently witnessing at Red Bull.
“He is working really hard and I think he will win even more. But I’m not jealous. I am happy to see his success.
“My F1 career is over. What that means is that I can now enjoy watching my former rivals perform from a distance.”
Moreover, Vettel downplayed any speculation of re-engaging with F1 in a non-driving capacity.
“If I go to Zandvoort,” he quipped once more, “I’d rather relax on the beach.”