Helmut Marko has dismissed the chance of drivers like Jean-Eric Vergne or Sebastien Buemi returning to Formula 1 as part of the Red Bull programme, feeling their time away from it will now be a hindrance as they would effectively be rookies once again.
Buemi has long been part of the reserve driver line-up at both Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso (now Scuderia Alpha Tauri) but lasted raced in Formula 1 back in 2011. He has been in FIA Formula E since the 2014/15 season, winning season two, whilst also competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Toyota Gazoo Racing, where he is a two-time champion.
Vergne was team-mate at Toro Rosso to Daniel Ricciardo, but when the Australian made the jump to the main Red Bull team in 2015, the Frenchman was ousted from Formula 1 altogether before finding his way into Formula E. He is now a two-time Formula E champion and is going for a hat trick in the 2019/20 season.
Marko, who is an advisor to Red Bull, says the modern day demands of Formula 1, including learning how to race with the Pirelli tyres, means bringing someone previously part of the Red Bull programme in Formula 1 is not going to happen.
“The topic is closed. They have made careers in other directions and other motorsport categories,” said Marko to Motorsport.com. “Now, if a Jean-Eric Vergne wins Formula E, it’s something completely different from the requirements that we have in Formula 1.
“Because there he would be more or less a complete newcomer. It would take him a whole season to get used to the specialities of a Pirelli tyre. So for that reason alone, it’s all in the past.
“But when you look around, a lot of our juniors are successful. They earn good money and have turned their hobby into a profession. That is great.”