F1 Grand Prix of USA - Qualifying
F1 Grand Prix of USA - Qualifying

Ferrari reacts to Vettel-Mercedes link

FERRARI boss Mattia Binotto says he would be "very happy" if Sebastian Vettel secures a move to rivals Mercedes next season.

Vettel will be leaving Ferrari at the end of 2020 and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that the door is open for the four-time world champion with the Silver Arrows.

And Binotto, while revealing Vettel was Ferrari's "first option" before the team opted for a "new cycle" due to the coronavirus crisis, told Marca: "It would be a loss (if Vettel wasn't on the grid next year), because we love and appreciate him, and it would be important for him to find a good seat next year.

"I hear rumours that you can find him in Mercedes and I would be very happy for him, I really would be."

Binotto also told the Spanish publication that Vettel's replacement Carlos Sainz can be a world champion in red, while also heaping praise on Charles Leclerc.

"Charles is a driver Ferrari can count on for the future, who we can try to develop as much as possible and who can become the strongest driver in the history of Formula 1," he said.

Last week Wolff left the door ajar for Vettel to join Mercedes, who is now the only one of F1's leading teams yet to sign up either of their drivers for next season, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas' deals expiring in December.

Hamilton, in particular, is expected to strike a new deal and while the prospect of Mercedes teaming the six-time champion with long-time rival Vettel in what would be the most decorated F1 line-up of all time is still considered unlikely, it isn't completely off the table.

Vettel’s future is still very much up in the air.
Vettel’s future is still very much up in the air.

"Sebastian is a four-time world champion and him suddenly becoming available was unexpected," Wolff said.

"And, therefore, it is a situation that needs to be monitored.

"Where could he potentially go, where are we with our drivers, and what I said (before) is I wouldn't discount Sebastian for any seat.

"We have looked at the situation. Our priority and concentration is on our Mercedes drivers - that's Lewis, Valtteri and the juniors. George Russell being one of them; Esteban Ocon is obviously a Renault driver today.

"And only if we can't find a solution within that group of drivers we will look elsewhere and then obviously Sebastian is in a very good position."


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