Sebastian Vettel has discussed his future following what has been a difficult start to the 2022 Formula 1 season for his team.
Aston Martin are the only outfit not to have scored a point after three races this year, while Vettel missed the first two Grands Prix after testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Bahrain weekend.
Returning for Australia, Vettel had multiple incidents and accidents and, while running outside the points, crashed midway through the race.
With Aston Martin's prospects for 2022 looking quite poor, Vettel was asked about his future ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
More specifically, he was quizzed on whether he'd had any discussions with former boss Christian Horner regarding a return to Red Bull, with Sergio Perez's contract expiring at the end of this season.
Vettel "hasn't spoken" with Horner
"I haven't spoken with Christian for a while. [It's] not true," Vettel told media, including RacingNews365.com, when asked about the Red Bull possibility and his future.
As for the long-term fortunes of Aston Martin, the public stance from the team is that they are on a multi-year plan to launch a title challenge by 2025 or 2026.
"I don't know, I mean time will tell. At the minute, I think the focus is on the now and on the mountain ahead of us that we [will] try to climb," Vettel said.
won't climb it in a day, we won't climb it in the month. But we will
choose the path that we climb, which will determine the next three to
"So that's why I feel it's really important to focus on that. It takes all the attention and then... I don't know."
He admitted there will be a point where it's time to walk away, but didn't elaborate on when that might be.
"One day, there will be a day for all of us where this journey ends and some other journey will start, whatever that might be," the four-time World Champion explained.
"I definitely won't sit on the other side in terms of asking questions to drivers, I don't think that will be my strength!
"Obviously, I've thought about it before signing the current contract. Plenty of ideas, but who knows?"
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Is Vettel staying motivated?
With Vettel's own contract coming to an end at the conclusion of 2022, he was asked what he hopes to achieve during the season ahead, as well as his requirements in order to put pen to paper to stay with Aston Martin.
"It's a no-brainer. My contract ends at the end of this season," he commented.
"Obviously, it's not the year that everyone in the team hoped for, at least at the start of the season, but I think it would be bad to write it off already.
"It's only race three. It's new regulations and there are so many things we are currently struggling with when it comes to performance, with our car and extracting the performance.
"I think others have the same, or similar, problems. So [there are] lots of things that we can still understand and learn in the next weeks and months.
"It will be very important to set the direction for this year, but also for learning and knowing what to do in the next three to four years.
"The spirit is good, the team is very willing to be at the front. At the minute we're not – it's not a secret, but lots of work [is] going in."
Asked to comment on his long-term future with his current team, Vettel wouldn't be drawn into confirming anything.
"I don't know. [There are] no secrets; it will depend on how this year goes, and then [we will] take it from there," he said.
"We know that a lot of stuff is coming and we will see in the next weeks and months whether it's going in the right direction. But the atmosphere is good. We take it on the chin and try to move forward."
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