Helmut Marko says Red Bull lost Sebastian Vettel to the “myth” of Ferrari even though “much of it is about illusions.”
Earlier this month, Red Bull announced that Vettel would be leaving the team at the end of this season.
While his destination has yet to be confirmed, it is an open secret in the paddock that he is off to Ferrari.
The four-time World Champion is expected to replace Fernando Alonso, who Luca di Montezemolo has revealed will go at the end of the year.
Asked why he believed Vettel had opted to sign with Ferrari, Marko told the official F1 website: “Ferrari is still the name in F1. It’s a myth, so every driver yearns to go there in their racing career.
“Sure, much of it is about illusions.
“Sebastian has already won [the title] four times. Now it’s time for the myth. I also believe that the moment to move was ideal: Ferrari is down, and in such a situation you can dictate your conditions.”
As for when he became aware that Vettel was shopping around, the Red Bull advisor said: “I think the first suspicion that there was something brewing was after the summer break. I cannot nail it down to an occurrence, but it was a strong gut feeling.
“Remember this: at least two things had to come together. It was not only a case of Sebastian wanting to leave, but also of Fernando Alonso clearing the way.
“The more Alonso distanced himself from Ferrari the more likely it became that Seb would move.”
Red Bull did not have to look far for a replacement for the German, promoting Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat despite the Russian driver having only made his debut this season.
Marko added: “We do have the cosy situation of having a pool of great talents we can choose from as we want. And believe me, we wouldn’t have promoted him if we didn’t believe that he can deliver!”