Sebastian Vettel will be trackside at Suzuka next weekend as the retired quadruple world champion considers a ‘plan bee’ for his future.
The 36-year-old is back in the headlines this week amid rumours he might consider a return to the Formula 1 grid.
“It’s up to him, obviously, if he’s thinking about it,” said Fernando Alonso, who launched his own successful return to F1 last year following a sabbatical.
“But I think we saw when Daniel (Ricciardo) came back, it is a challenge,” added the 42-year-old Spaniard, referring to the Australian who promptly broke his hand in seven places following his recent comeback.
“Coming back to F1 cannot be underestimated,” Alonso insisted.
It is believed F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali is very open to the idea of Vettel coming back to the sport, but potentially as a figurehead to push F1’s environmental credentials.
Indeed, Vettel’s visit to the Japanese GP next weekend is to launch an initiative for 1.7 metre wooden ‘bee hotels’ that will be trackside at the fabled Suzuka track.
Bild newspaper reports that there will be 11 bee hotels at Suzuka – one representing each F1 team, with drivers and bosses personally invited to Vettel’s launch event.
Still, the German hasn’t ruled out a driving return to F1.
“Right now I’m just trying out a few things,” he told Kleine Zeitung newspaper. “Small things like in Japan, and then I’ll be surprised by what comes next. But something will definitely come.”
Dr Helmut Marko told the same newspaper that Vettel would make a good motor racing executive.
“His character, training and type make him a perfect fit for the role of a leader,” the 80-year-old Austrian said.
Vettel has even been linked with 80-year-old Marko’s own team advisory role at Red Bull.
“He has to first be clear about what he wants,” Marko said when asked about that.
“With a job like that he would be travelling a lot again and that involves a lot of air travel, which would be difficult due to his environmental commitments.
“But maybe he will be able to combine all of this and break new ground,” he added.