Sebastian Vettel stirred the market before the season of 2020 even began, with the information that by the end of the season he will leave Scuderia Ferrari, team he joined with the start of the 2015 season. That resulted in many rumours and speculation about his future in the sport - will he potentially join another team, or will resign from F1 altogether?
A lot of talks have been surrounding the topic of Vettel potentially joining Mercedes. Despite the team being eager to keep Lewis Hamilton in the team (since his contract expires after 2020 as well), they also need to figure out who will partner him in the other car. Valtteri Bottas has been told before that Vettel has been out of the equation and would not be considered for the position, but at the same time Toto Wolff, the boss of Mercedes F1 refused to not take Vettel into account, as well as mentioning George Russel, the Mercedes-backed Williams driver as another alternative.
Many spoke out that it would definitely be an interesting pairing, if Vettel would end up at Mercedes. Christian Horner, the principal of Red Bull Racing has said he would love to see the dynamic at Mercedes with those two behind the wheel, since he does not want Vettel to retire just yet. Another person from the grid who backed up the idea of Vettel not retiring yet was Max Verstappen. When asked about Vettel and his stint at Ferrari during an interview with German RTL, he said: “Yes, of course I was a little surprised but on my part it is difficult to say what happened there. In the end it was Seb and Ferrari’s feeling that this was the best decision. Now we’ll see what Seb does. He has achieved so much in the sport, it would be a shame if he was no longer there.”
Verstappen, when asked about the possibility of seeing a Hamilton-Vettel duo at Mercedes, responded: “It’s difficult to say. At the end on my side it doesn’t matter…but yes why not. It could happen, of course.”
Sebastian Vettel won 4 world championship titles behind the wheel of a Red Bull - Renault car between the years of 2010 till 2013, and then in 2015 moved to Ferrari, a team that has been his childhood dream. Despite being a serious challenge for Mercedes, they were never able to win the title, and their positions in the championship ranged from 2nd (2017, 2018) to even 5th in the 2019 season. Despite talks about new contract beyond 2020, Vettel decided to ultimately leave Ferrari. Although rumours cited salary as the reason of the departure, Vettel himself said that was never an issue, but the lack of “common desire to stay together and work in perfect harmony”. He said that the previous months urged him to reflect on his priorities in life, and he needs to establish what is important for him.
Will we see Vettel in Mercedes? Or will he eventually retire from the sport, or engage in something else? Although it is still too early to know, the following next few months will definitely provide some answers to these questions.