Vettel would take 2021 Red Bull seat if offered

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Sebastian Vettel is open to the idea of returning to Red Bull in 2021.

Ferrari opted not to offer Vettel a contract extension beyond this season, instead deciding to sign Carlos Sainz. Renault's decision to sign Fernando Alonso for 2021 further limited Vettel's realistic options for a stay on the F1 grid.

His only realistic choice now appears to be Red Bull, the team he won four world titles with at the start of the 2010s. Between the two races in Austria at the Red Bull Ring, the German driver appeared on the company's channel, Servus TV, alongside Max Verstappen and Red Bull boss Christian Horner, prompting some speculation in German media about his future.

A move back to Red Bull would put him alongside Verstappen, the most successful product of the company's driver programme since Vettel left.

When asked if he would be happy to race alongside the Dutchman, Vettel replied: "Generally I'm of the conviction that if you want to win, you have to be happy to take on anyone, so I don't think it is a question of your potential teammate no matter where you will find yourself.

"I obviously again know the team very well from my past. Of course I'm still in contact with a lot of people there, whether it is Christian [Horner], Helmut [Marko] or others.

"Red Bull has a winning car, I believe, so they are a very strong team. I know how strong they are from the past; I know they have evolved. It is not fair to say I know the team inside out because it also has changed and moved on, but I know why they were strong back then, and they are still, I think, a contender and it's a car you can win races in, so for sure that would be interesting."

Pressed on whether he would accept a Red Bull contract, Vettel said: "As I said, it's a winning car and as I said earlier, I'm here to compete, I'm here to win, so probably the answer would be yes."

With Verstappen signing an extension to 2023 at the start of the year, Alex Albon would be the driver to make way for Vettel if any move was to materialise. In his own news conference on Thursday, Verstappen said he sees no reason for Red Bull to change its existing formula.

"At the moment I think the team is happy with both of us, and I have to say I'm really happy with Alex as a teammate," he said.

"He's a really nice guy in the team, which is good for everyone. He's good with set-up, so we both give good feedback to the team, and he's a fast guy, so I don't think there's any reason to change. I think Christian and Helmut can back that up. It's also not up to me at the end of the day to decide these things."