On the whole, 2014 has been a fall from grace for Red Bull. Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel and his shiny new teammate Daniel Ricciardo have struggled to maintain the team’s recent dominance in the sport. The latter’s impressive performances, however, have at times put Vettel to shame, undermining him almost. So, it’s no surprise, in the piranha tank that is Formula One, that Vettel is being linked away from the team that made him great.

Photo Credit: Octane Photographic
Photo Credit: Octane Photographic

Any of the top teams are possible ventures for Vettel in 2016, should he jump ship, with most recently link being Mercedes. It goes without saying then that the empty seat left at Red Bull would be highly sought after, with the team’s philosophy of promoting from within launching Daniil Kvyat into the hot-seat, following the Russian’s highly impressive debut season for Toro Rosso.

Any deal for Kvyat would be favourable for more than just the talent binding side of things. The sport is just months away from its inaugural Russian Grand Prix, it’s first serious effort at breaking into a seemingly untapped market. Kvyat, the only Russian of note at present worthy of a F1 seat , in a front-running car such as (we can presume) a 2016 Red Bull, could be a PR dream for Dietrich Mateschitz.

As for other candidates, Jean-Eric Vergne has served well for Toro Rosso since joining the team in 2012, being a consistent performer, if not setting the world alight. The obvious Red Bull link stand him in good stead, but having been overlooked for the seat eventually taken by Red Bull’s current flavour of the month Daniel Ricciardo, it’s hard to see how and why Christian Horner and co would change their stance in the future.  Besides JEV, the expected introduction of Carlos Sainz Jr and recent reports linking Max Verstappen to Toro Rosso for 2015 could be contributing factors, especially if they perform in the same way that Kvyat has in his debut season.

Whatever happens, Vettel is reaching a vital stage of his career in the next 12 months. Should he stay with the team that has put him amongst the greats, or depart to elsewhere in search of becoming the great?