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Would it be Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo, Antonio Giovinazzi or someone else altogether? Here’s what we think
Scuderia Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel have decided to part ways at the end of 2020 Formula 1 season. The silly season is yet to begin and the big news from Maranello has already turned the tide in F1. Ferrari’s focus this year will naturally be their number 1 driver now - Charles Leclerc who outclassed Vettel on all counts in 2019. Vettel had been enjoying the number 1 status since 2015 but Leclerc outscored him in the previous season in terms of not only points tally but also the number of poles and average qualifying time. The penultimate race of the previous season led to a crash in which Vettel was clearly found to be at fault.
However, the pressing question now is - who’d replace Vettel at Scuderia? Ferrari had rarely signed a young driver in the past but they now have one in the form of Leclerc but the team is always known to balance talent alongside experience. The current lineup of drivers likely to replace Vettel at Scuderia includes Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo, Antonio Giovinazzi and Lewis Hamilton. Why do we believe so you ask? Read on to find out.
The number one choice for Ferrari currently is Carlos Sainz. The talks in paddock suggested that Vettel was asking for a hefty fee for his services at Scuderia but the official release from Scuderia debunked the rumours. However, considering Scuderia’s budgeting terms for the season, Carlos Sainz - who is currently signed with McLaren till the end of 2020 seems like the most likely option. Sainz has been talking to Ferrari already and is expected to be driving alongside Leclerc in 2021, most likely. Seeking Sainz is not really a surprise for he has performed exceptionally well in 2019, finishing third in a race in a McLaren which hasn’t been counted among the bigwigs. He also brings along considerable experience which would ideally be helpful in balancing the team’s dynamics. Of course, this would also lead to his seat being vacant at McLaren which would be either replaced by Ricciardo or Vettel himself.
Daniel was linked with McLaren before he surprisingly signed up for Renault in 2018. However, looking at the team’s dismal performance in 2019, Daniel has decided to move on and is considered hot property at this moment. Now that Scuderia has a vacant seat, Daniel is rumoured to be in talks with Mattia Binotto, Scuderia’s team principal. Ricciardo is a extremely popular in the paddock as well as outside and has a dedicated fan following, on the lines of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton even. Scuderia is known to sign up drivers who have a vivid personality and are popular among the crowds as well. Daniel not only fits the bill in terms of his popularity but also brings with him supreme driving talent. He’s known to be one of the fiercest drivers on the grid without bring arrogant and his braking abilities are counted among the top. Definitely one of the hot contestants!
Antonio is currently driving or Scuderia’s B-team - Alfa Romeo Racing and that makes him one of the logical choices for Scuderia at the moment. Italians are always preferred by Scuderia and of course, by the Tifosi as well. He has also managed to finish fifth in a car that is sub-par when compared to the midfield. However, considering how much Scuderia values experience over anything, we do not expect them to line him up next to Leclerc who again is fairly new to Formula 1.
Lewis recently said ‘I’m with my dream team’ and is looking to win another championship because it’s the ‘best team’. However, he has always been vocal about his desire to drive for Scuderia at some point in his F1 career. The vacant spot for 2021 at Scuderia would not only allows him to fulfil his longstanding dream but also allow Ferrari to bring back their glory days, considering Lewis’ hunger for winning titles. His contract at Mercedes-AMG expires at the end of 2020 and with Niki Lauda (who convinced Lewis to join Mercedes) not being around anymore, it adds a very different dimension to his relationship with the team. However, considering Lewis’ hefty fees, it is very unlikely for Scuderia to sign him up considering Leclerc has already signed up till 2024.
Fernando Alonso had shared a poll on Twitter recently asking voters to choose between F1 and other racing series. F1 was voted as the best choice and Alonso hasn’t denied his return to F1. He has been vocal about returning to the sport post the 2021-changes. However, the current situation at Scuderia has led to a very lucrative prospect for Alonso and considering his previous experience at Scuderia, you cannot discount him from the list.