Sebastian Vettel and Scuderia Ferrari will reportedly part ways following the 2020 Formula 1 season.
According to Tobi Gruner from auto motor und sport, the 4-time World Champion and Ferrari couldn’t come to terms on an extension with both sides electing to go their own ways when the 2020 season concludes. Regardless of if there is a season or not Sebastian Vettel will not be in red past 2020.
The 32-year old Vettel will more likely than not exit Ferrari without delivering a World Championship. Vettel drove exceptionally early in his Ferrari career and took underperforming cars to the top step of the podium. However, Mercedes preparedness combined with Lewis Hamilton’s talent only further exploited Ferrari’s inability to deliver Vettel a championship-contending car.
Ferrari was keen to continue their relationship with Vettel if the German took a pay cut for the 2021 season. According to rumors Ferrari offered Vettel a $16M/yr deal for one season, far less than the reported $40M/yr he currently makes. Ferrari considers it an honor to drive for them even though they haven’t won a World Championship since 2007.
Who Replaces Vettel?
The leader in the clubhouse is easily Carlos Sainz. The 25-year old Spaniard has been in the sport since 2015 and in that time he has proven himself to be consistent, quick, and the type of driver who can get the most out of his equipment.
In 2019, Sainz helped to resurrect McLaren and lead them to 4th place in the Constructors Championship after they were nearly left for dead following the Honda era. Last season certainly thrust Sainz into the spotlight for a number of teams.
Ferrari has apparently taken notice and has fixed their sights on Sainz. Unfortunately for Sainz, he’s the perfect #2 driver. Consistent, quick, and a guy who can gather points. Or maybe he hasn’t had the opportunity to show his killer instinct yet as Leclerc has. For Sainz, he would be joining a Ferrari team that is fully behind Leclerc.
If Ferrari wants Leclerc to be their #1 driver and their future, they sign Sainz.
Ricciardo is in the final year of his Renault contract and could desperately be trying to leave as he searches for a more competitive car.
Renault made a huge splash stealing Ricciardo away from Red Bull for a reported $32.5M/yr. In their first season together the duo recorded no podiums and a 9th place finish in the driver standings. Ricciardo isn’t getting any younger as he turns 31 this July. If he wants to win a World Championship he needs to do it now.
COVID-19 certainly threw a wrench in Renault’s plans. With the 2021 car being delayed until 2022, the team was banking on the new car to help them convince Ricciardo to stay. Keeping him will now be so much harder.
For Ricciardo, though he will have to take a pay cut if he wants to go race for Ferrari. It’s the only open seat that could give him a chance to win a title sooner rather than later. And even then, he’ll have to hop the Ferrari pit wall doesn’t get in their own head again, and again, and again.
Ricciardo will not play wingman to Leclerc though and Ferrari showed in 2019 they can’t handle an inter-team battle.
Don’t Say These Drivers
Antonio Giovinazzi, stop, just stop.
Kimi Raikkonen, I wish but a third stint with the Scuderia? The Godfather didn’t need three parts, but a Kimi trilogy would be fun.
Lewis Hamilton, is Toto Wolff taking over Ferrari? Nope? Alright then.
Mick Schumacher, if F1 fans were like NASCAR fans his name would certainly be thrown around.