Marko says rival team has made Vettel “an outrageously high offer”


Rumours over Sebastian Vettel’s future at Red Bull have intensified ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The German is rumoured to be wanted by Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren, as well as his current employers. And, according to Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, British squad McLaren have already made Vettel “an outrageously high offer.”

The four-time World Champion has endured a humbling 2014 season, with new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo currently leading him 7-3 in their qualifying battle. The Australian has also regularly beaten Vettel in races and currently holds a 24-point championship advantage over his team-mate.

That has led to speculation that Vettel could seek pastures new in the near future. And ahead of this weekend’s race Marko - often seen as Vettel’s closest ally - said there is interest from other teams, including pace-setters Mercedes

“Of course [Mercedes] target him,” Marko told Germany’s Sport Bild newspaper. “And they are not the only team. McLaren-Honda made Sebastian an outrageously high offer.”

However Vettel would not be drawn on the issue when asked about Marko’s comments yesterday.

"I think any offer is to be considered, but nothing has changed," said the 27-year-old.

"So I still don't talk about these things. I don't know which sources Helmut has or doesn't have. But they seem to vary."

1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve also weighed into the debate, suggesting that Vettel has to depart his long-time home to protect his reputation.

"Sebastian has to leave Red Bull,” said Villeneuve this week. "The public is already changing its opinion of him, as in a middle class car he is starting to look like a middle-class driver."

However Mercedes’ current driver Lewis Hamilton shrugged off rumours that Vettel could replace him, suggesting the team would not want to pair Nico Rosberg with a fellow German.

"Another German driver? I'm not sure if that's something Mercedes would like,” Hamilton told reporters in Hungary.

The Brit also hinted that he intendeds to remain with the squad.

"I've shown an interest in sitting down and talking," said Hamilton. "We haven't sat down yet, but the team know I'd like to push to continue, and they have made clear they would like to do the same."

Should Vettel depart Red Bull, his place would likely be taken by the impressive Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat.