How might Vettel’s continue his F1 journey in 2021?
May 26, 2020
A wheel has yet to turn in anger in this year’s Formula 1 season. But that’s not stopped the controversy and team shenanigans from continuing behind the scenes as usual. The biggest story to come out of the season that is yet to start is one that was inevitably going to come sooner or later.
From the moment that Ferrari replaced reliable wing man Kimi Raikkonen with precocious talent Charles Leclerc, there were questions over how lead driver Vettel would handle the rivalry. Having been outraced and outpaced in 2019, the news that he has decided to walk away from the Scuderia at the end of 2020 is no big surprise. But will he still be a part of the F1 landscape in 2021? Let’s look at three options that might be open to him.
The silver arrows have dominated F1 for almost a decade and Mercedes is the team that has prevented Vettel from expanding on his four World Championship titles since his move to Ferrari in 2015. The thought of Hamilton and Vettel as team mates is something that would get every F1 fan smiling, but could it really happen? It’s a scenario that has certainly been talked up in recent weeks, and betting sites like www.comeon.com now see a Vettel and Mercedes partnership as a genuine possibility.
However, if Vettel does make the move to Stuttgart, it will not necessarily be alongside Hamilton. The current World Champion has yet to pen a deal for 2021, and has even mentioned the possibility of retiring. Just showmanship to get a better deal? It’s possible, but by opening the door to discussions with Vettel, Mercedes can demonstrate that it is not afraid of a future without Hamilton.
Back to where it all began? Vettel’s time at Red Bull was the most successful in the team’s history. However, it was also fraught with in-fighting as Vettel’s “win at all costs” attitude cost him friendships and even some respect.
He’s older and a little mellower now, and team boss Christian Horner has told the press that Vettel remains a friend and a regular visitor to the team garage. However, it is hard to envisage a successful pairing between Vettel and Red Bull’s star driver Max Verstappen, who is contracted to the team till the end of 2023.
Sainz to Ferrari and Ricciardo to McLaren means there is definitely a vacant Renault seat for 2021. Might Vettel go there? Rumors are rife that the team is eyeing up an experienced partner for Esteban Ocon in 2021, and Vettel is one of two big names in the frame. The other is Fernando Alonso, about whom the rumors of an F1 return refuse to die down.
Renault has spent recent seasons battling for scraps among the midfielders. But this is a team with a significant budget and a proven record. The chance to propel them back to the front could be just the challenge Vettel needs to revitalize his Formula 1 career.