Christian Horner has revealed that there were "exploratory talks" over Sebastian Vettel returning to Red Bull before the team signed Sergio Perez.
Vettel's partnership with Red Bull proved to be the most successful stint of his F1 career. Together they won back-to-back Drivers' and Constructors' Championships between 2010 and 2013, before Vettel moved to Ferrari for 2015.
He later switched to Aston Martin in 2021, and recently confirmed that he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the 2022 campaign.
Horner recalls possible Vettel/Red Bull reunion
When asked by Channel 4 whether the team were close to bringing back Vettel instead of opting for Perez, Horner admitted that discussions had taken place, but suggested that a reunion would not have captured the same magic that they shared before.
"We had a few exploratory talks," the Red Bull boss explained.
"But it'd be a bit like going back to an old girlfriend – it'd probably never be quite the same second time round. What we achieved together was so remarkable.
"I think that what we achieved together was such a phenomenal thing, and that will always be part of our history. We're tremendously proud to have had him as part of our team."
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Vettel's retirement "right decision for him", says Horner
Horner hadn't been aware that Vettel was planning to announce his retirement in the days after the French Grand Prix.
He believes, though, that it is the right call for the four-time World Champion, who currently sits P14 in the World Championship standings.
"I don't think anybody [knew he was leaving]," Horner said.
"I saw him as he left the paddock in Paul Ricard, it had been obviously a frustrating day for him.
"I think it's the right decision, it's the right decision for him. It's not good seeing him run around in the midfield, and I don't think he's getting any satisfaction from that.
"I think that the time is right to draw the curtain on what's been an amazing career."
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