Sebastian Vettel’s announced that he will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2020 season. Carlos Sainz is deep in negotiations with Scuderia Ferrari to replace Vettel at the iconic Italian team in 2021 and an announcement could be made this week.
Daniel Ricciardo has been in extensive negotiations with McLaren to replace Sainz at the English team.
Vettel has his eyes set on a move to world championship rival Mercedes in 2021 in a mind-blowing possible partnership with six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. He has also been linked as a possible replacement for Ricciardo at Renault.
Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg have also been linked to Ricciardo’s seat.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff poured fuel on the burning Vettel rumours on Thursday when he admitted his team would consider Vettel’s Ferrari departure as it decides on its driver pairing for 2021.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner on Thursday dismissed any interest in bringing Vettel back to the team where he won four world championships, Mercedes looms as his only option.
Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas are both out of contract at the end of 2020. Hamilton has been in extensive negotiations with Mercedes and is expected to re-sign and a one-year extension with Bottas.
The Finnish driver has been on rolling one-year contracts at Mercedes for the past two seasons, despite finishing second in the world championship standings last year.
“Sebastian is a great driver, a major personality and an asset to any Formula 1 team. When looking to the future, our first loyalty lies with the current Mercedes drivers. But naturally we must take this development into consideration,” Wolff said.
Earlier Horner said it was “enormously unlikely” that Vettel would end up back at Red Bull.
“We’ve got a good dynamic within the team and experience shows that two alpha males doesn’t tend to pan out well. Sebastian is still a very competitive grand prix driver so I don’t think it would be conducive for our team to have two alphas. We’re happy with the driver line-up we have. I’m sure he’s not short of options moving forward, but obviously he’s chosen it hasn’t worked out for him at Ferrari.”
His decision has given Sainz a golden ticket to potentially challenge for a world title in 2021.
Sainz was sixth overall in 2019, behind only the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers and Red Bull’s Verstappen, but has yet to win a grand prix. His third place in Brazil last year was McLaren’s first podium finish since 2014.