Sebastian Vettel will depart Ferrari at the end of the year after contract negotiations with Scuderia broke down, Ferrari have announced on Tuesday morning. Vettel and Scuderia have been in talks for several months.
Team principal Mattia Binotto said the four-time world champion was his number one choice to race alongside Charles Leclerc next year. However, they have been unable to agree on terms.
“My relationship with Scuderia Ferrari will finish at the end of 2020,” said Vettel. “In order to get the best possible results in this sport, it’s vital for all parties to work in perfect harmony. The team and I have realised 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.”
Vettel joined Ferrari in 2015, to follow the footsteps of his childhood idol Michael Schumacher and win world Title with the Scuderia. However, he is not set to leave the team. But who will replace him at Ferrari?
Here are top 5 candidates to replace Vettel.
The first candidate is Daniel Ricciardo of Renault. Before Charles Leclerc, he was the last teammate to beat Sebastian Vettel over a season. He has an Italian heritage and his contract ends in 2020. Ricciardo has expressed his desire to drive for Ferrari and he is known to be unsettled at the French team and has talked about moving on.
Carlos Sainz JR
McLaren driver Carlos Sainz JR is interested in a chance to drive for Ferrari next year. Sainz is 25-year-old but he already participated in 100 Grand Prix. He is an attractive prospect but the one huge problem is, whether he would be willing to tolerate driving behind Charles Leclerc.
Mercedes driver Bottas could be surprise name on the list, but because his deal with the Silver Arrows ends this year, he could consider leaving the team. Vettel could be an ideal option for Ferrari, as the Fin would like to try himself in a team without Lewis Hamilton. Bottas is familiar to the number two driver and could be helpful for Leclerc.
Racing Point driver Sergio Perez is not the best option for the Scuderia, but the is a Ferrari driver academy product. He spent a year at McLaren and joined Racing Point F1 where he has taken his team to the podium five times. Perez is an aggressive wheel to wheel racer and he can handle the pressure of Ferrari.
Ferrari would like to bring someone who would accept the secondary role behind Charles Leclerc and therefore, Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi could be an option. Giovinazzi is an Italian and he has been Scuderia reserve driver in 2017. However, he is a little bit inexperienced as he only has one full season of F1 under his belt.
Who will replace Vettel at Ferrari? Vote here