F1: Vettel’s future is in doubt - but Ferrari dismiss Verstappen move
Italian team looks set to consider its 2021 line-up in May
Vettel seat up for grabs in 2021
Ferrari will continue with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc as their driver line-up next season, but the future of Vettel in Formula 1 post-2020 looks in doubt.
In recent weeks there has been speculation that Ferrari could make a move for world champion Lewis Hamilton in 2021.
The Times says that the confirmed talks between the Italian team and the Mercedes driver could see Vettel’s “days numbered” in F1.
Vettel is a four-time world champion from his spell with Red Bull but since moving to Ferrari he has failed to add to his titles with Hamilton dominating.
The emergence of Leclerc as a major rival for Vettel also means the experienced German could play second fiddle behind his 22-year-old team-mate next season.
GrandPX says that team principal Mattia Binotto and Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri confirmed that Vettel’s 2021 seat may be “up for grabs”.
It’s not just Hamilton who has been linked with a move to Ferrari, but also Fernando Alonso. However, Binotto has quashed any talk of the Spaniard returning to the team he drove for from 2010 to 2014.
“We have talked about him, but he no longer sits with our plans,” said Binotto.
It’s also reported that Ferrari look set to consider their 2021 line-up in May. Leclerc has a long-term contract with the team, but Vettel’s deal is in its final year.
When asked about Vettel, Camilleri said “it would be premature to decide anything now for the future”, while Binotto added that Ferrari “have to see the performance, the way he adapts to the car and his motivation”.
Binotto added: “It’s not about whether he makes mistakes or not. It’s really about how he sees his future and how we see our team.”
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Verstappen not an option
While Hamilton and Alonso have been talked about as possible candidates for a Ferrari seat in 2021, one driver who doesn’t look like an option is Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
GrandPX reports that Ferrari have “slammed the door shut” on the 22-year-old after he accused the Italian team of “cheating” with its 2019 engine.
Camilleri said: “These declarations generally don’t take you very far. Max is 22-years-old, so why give him credibility when we are Ferrari? Sometimes silence is more powerful.
“A driver who accuses Ferrari of cheating cannot think of being with us. Mattia said we had FIA inspectors everywhere. His [Verstappen’s] words created all sorts of problems within the team.”
Despite Verstappen being linked with Ferrari and Mercedes, Fox Sports says Red Bull are confident that their star asset will remain with the team beyond the 2021 season.
2020 car reveal
Meanwhile, Formula1.com senior writer Lawrence Barretto has tweeted that Ferrari will reveal their 2020 F1 car on 11 February next year. Ferrari are the first team to confirm their plans.