For these drivers, the transfer carousel in Formula 1 is running | Right away
With the announced departure of Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, the transfer carousel in Formula One is suddenly in full swing. An overview of the most important players in the driver market in the premier class of motorsport.
It took only two days for Ferrari to appoint a successor to Vettel. With Carlos Sainz coming from McLaren, the gap left by the German in 2021 must be closed. In the person of Daniel Ricciardo, who will start his second season at Renault this year, the news of Sainz’s successor did not last long.
What is Vettel’s future?
With his announced departure from Maranello, Vettel is the most important player in the transfer market. The 32-year-old Ferrari driver will be thinking about his future in the coming weeks. Should the four-time world champion decide to continue driving, there are two real options for him: Mercedes and Renault.
At Mercedes, the contracts were Lewis Hamilton (35) and Valtteri Bottas (30) at the end of this season. Hamilton has been negotiating a longer commitment with his current employer for several months and these talks are expected to be successfully concluded later this year.
Whether Bottas, who is entering his fourth season with Mercedes this year, will join the German team in 2021 is still uncertain. Mercedes will consider extending their expiring contract later this year.
The contracts of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes expire at the end of this season. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Mercedes team boss Wolff does not rule out Vettel’s arrival
Team principal Toto Wolff announced immediately after the news of Vettel’s departure from Ferrari that he would not rule out the former Red Bull driver’s arrival at Mercedes. For Mercedes, it would be an excellent step to bring Vettel into the game: the second most successful Formula One driver from Germany in the service of the most successful German team of all time. Vettel and Hamilton would also be good for at least 11 world titles next year – an unprecedented driver duo.
At the same time, there is also a potential problem lurking there. Two top drivers fighting for the world title within a team can create tensions, Mercedes knows from experience. From 2013 to 2016, Hamilton and Nico Rosberg regularly made their lives sour. Because Mercedes were so outstanding in those years, the team could afford it. Meanwhile, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing have narrowed the gap to the “silver arrows” so much that few mistakes can be made at Brackley.
In addition, Mercedes has George Russell (22) another talent. While the current Williams driver has not yet proved himself in Formula One, the 2018 Formula 2 champion is considered Hamilton’s potential successor. With the arrival of Vettel – or a new contract extension from Bottas – Mercedes threaten to lose Russell. Just as Esteban Ocon has decided to terminate his Mercedes commitments for a multi-year contract at Renault at the end of 2019.
Do Mercedes, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton drive in a team? (Photo: Pro Shots)
Vettel has a successful past with Renault
With Ricciardo’s departure, Renault has a seat for a factory team. Despite the poor results of recent years, the French team was able to reach a top driver with Ricciardo, even though there was a salary of 30 million euros per year.
Vettel is an interesting option for Renault for several reasons, which is still a team under construction. With Vettel, the racecourse has the chance to win one of the most successful Formula One drivers of all time: only three drivers won more world titles than the driver from Heppenheim.
Vettel also has a special connection to Renault. In his dominant Red Bull period between 2010 and 2013, he won all his championships with a source of strength from the famous French brand. The factory team of his former engine partner could in some way complete the circle.
Sebastian Vettel won all four world titles at Red Bull with a Renault engine. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Persistent rumours about Alonso’s return
Should Vettel have ears for a seat at Renault, he could get the competition from a surprising angle: in recent weeks, rumours of a possible return Fernando Alonso Enstone’s Renstal are becoming more and more stubborn. According to his adviser and former agent Flavio Briatore, the two-time world champion is ready for a comeback in Formula One.
Whether Renault, the team with which the 38-year-old Spaniard won his only two world titles in 2005 and 2006, will dare to bring Alonso back remains to be seen. With the victory over Alonso it brings not only a top driver, but also a possible problem.
Alonso’s career is full of incidents that took place mainly off the track. Renault do not guarantee that Alonso, who left Formula One in 2018, will have forgotten his political blows.
Rumours of Fernando Alonso’s return to Formula One are growing increasingly stubborn. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Verstappen has multi-year contract at Red Bull
Max Verstappen does not seem to play a major role in the transfer market in the coming years. The 22-year-old Dutchman extended his contract at Red Bull late last year until 2023. The commitment of the Alexander Albon If the British Thai continues as he did at the end of last season, he will continue to be Verstappen’s team-mate in 2021.
Racing Point has also completed the driver duo for 2021. Sergio Pérez (30) signed a contract in the summer of 2019 that ties him to the Silverstone team until the end of 2022. Lance StrollThe 21-year-old son of team owner Lawrence was already in possession of a multi-year commitment, although it is not known exactly when his contract will expire.
The other teams – AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo, Haas F1 and Williams – have not yet signed drivers for 2021. The most eye-catching driver still unsure if he has a Formula One seat next year is Kimi Räikkönen The contract of the individual world champion at Alfa Romeo expires at the end of this season.