In breaking news on Monday May 11, Ferrari has confirmed that Sebastian Vettel will not have his contract renewed at the end of 2020. It is as yet unknown whom will replace the 32 year old German, however persistent rumor’s have swirled around Australian, and also out of contract at 2020’s end, Daniel Ricciardo, with Carlos Sainz also now being talked about as a seat filler for the Prancing Horse outfit.
A statement from Vettel read: “The team and I have realized that there is no longer a common desire to stay together beyond the end of this season. Financial matters have played no part in this joint decision. That’s not the way I think when it comes to making certain choices and it never will be … What’s been happening in these past few months has led many of us to reflect on what are our real priorities in life.” This comes on the back of a reputed offer of an extra year with reduced pay, a logical move in the light of this year’s lack of track action and associated costs management.
The move also focuses again that spotlight on Charles Leclerc. Again, rumor’s have swirled about the younger driver potentially being more the favored driver and with team leader Mattia Binotto seemingly confirming that with: “apart from the common and amicable belief that the time had come to go our separate ways in order to reach our respective objectives” it’s now a situation of musical chairs for the team to replace Vettel.
The fact that McLaren’s Sainz has been put forward as a candidate isn’t quite a surprise though. F1 commentator and former driver, Karun Chandok, observed a week ago that he thought Sainz should be given the opportunity ahead of the more experienced Ricciardo due to the Australian already having the opportunity to drive with a top level team during his time with Red Bull. There is also the perception that Sainz seems to be a better fit for a “second fiddle” role to Leclerc whereas Ricciardo would prefer to be the team’s number one driver.
Vettel has won 14 races for the Ferrari team, and is listed as their third most successful driver. Sadly, for the German, it puts an end to his dream of overcoming the record of wins with Ferrari that his childhood hero, Michael Schumacher, has.
We’ll update this when a decision at Ferrari is made.