McLaren ‘interested in signing Sebastian Vettel for 2013’
McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh has revealed his team tried to sign Sebastian Vettel three years ago – and could try again when his current contract with Red Bull expires in 2012.
Vettel impressed on his Formula 1 debut at the 2007 United States Grand Prix, finishing eighth for BMW. The German was subsequently snapped up by Toro Rosso, going on to secure fourth place for them at the Chinese Grand Prix, before taking pole and winning the Italian Grand Prix a year later.
In 2009, Vettel was promoted to Red Bull, and impressed to challenge for the world title with four race wins as Red Bull battled with surprise package Brawn GP for both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.
Vettel has made a number of mistakes in the RB6 this year, including collisions with team-mate Mark Webber at the Turkish Grand Prix, and Jenson Button at the Belgian Grand Prix, but Whitmarsh would still sign Vettel given the opportunity.
“I am open and honest enough to admit it,” said Whitmarsh. “Sebastian is one of the great and promising talents, and we at McLaren wanted to have him. Unfortunately, we were not able to sign him at that time.
“If he continues to develop so fantastically, then at the end of his contract I will try once again to get him.”
At 23, Vettel is considerably younger than his championship rivals, and has been tipped to win more than one title in his F1 career.
Despite his errors in 2010, the German is still in with a chance of winning the title along with Webber, McLaren duo Button and Lewis Hamilton, and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. He is currently just 24 points behind leader Webber with five races to go.