Brundle has his say on Vettel’s future and Ferrari replacement
Last Updated: 12/05/20 2:19pm
Sky F1’s Martin Brundle believes there’s a “good chance” Sebastian Vettel will retire from Formula 1 after leaving Ferrari at the end of this season.
In bombshell news that has rocked F1 and the driver market, Ferrari revealed on Tuesday that they had agreed to part ways with the four-time champion once his contract expires, with Vettel admitting there was no longer a “common desire” between himself and the team.
The big focus now is on what’s next for Vettel, who turns 33 in July, and who could replace him in one of the most coveted seats in motorsport in 2021.
And Brundle doubts whether Vettel would be willing to drive for another team if the race-winning options on the grid are closed.
“I don’t necessarily see a home for Sebastian Vettel,” Brundle told Sky Sports News‘ Craig Slater.
“We know he’s talking to other teams and he’s got such a great turn of speed. But I wonder if it’s the end of the road for Seb, or whether he’ll take a midfield situation with promise.
“I think there’s a good chance Sebastian will step away from Formula 1. Whether it’s for good or not, as we’ve seen with other drivers, remains to be seen.”
Vettel, who said he has to focus on the “real priorities in life”, is third on the all-time list of F1 wins – behind Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton – while he is one of only five drivers to have ever claimed four titles.
Sainz a lead contender for Vettel’s seat?
Speculation about Vettel’s future has been lingering for some time, and Hamilton has long-been mooted as a potential replacement.
But Brundle doubts Ferrari would want “two bulls” by pairing rising star Charles Leclerc with a six-time world champion.
“And I’m not entirely sure Hamilton is available,” he added. “I think he’s made it quite clear that Mercedes is his future, both in the cockpit and outside of it in the distant future.”
Instead, Brundle sees Carlos Sainz, the Spaniard who has shone over five seasons with Toro Rosso, Renault and most recently McLaren, as a front-runner.
“I think they’re more likely to go for Sainz,” he explained. “This is a really strange time in that driver contracts are coming to their end and teams are having to make decisions based on the future with no current season as an indicator. They’re working blind at the moment.
“This plays into the hands, to an extent, of young but well-experienced drivers. The new kids in town haven’t had a chance to prove themselves as a Leclerc or [Max] Verstappen of the future, for example.”
Daniel Ricciardo, formerly of Red Bull, is also an out-of-contract driver who has been linked with the Ferrari seat, and Brundle threw out a prediction for the 2021 market.
“I see a scenario which is Sainz to Ferrari, Ricciardo to McLaren, and then that leaves a seat at Renault that probably would be [Fernando] Alonso.”
But Brundle added: “The Renault seat, if I’m right with Ricciardo going to McLaren, is a works seat and may appeal to [Vettel].”