Sebastian Vettel has been told to take a year away from Formula 1 and assess his options for a potential return in 2022.
Following the announcement by Ferrari and Vettel that they will be going their separate ways in 2021, the Scuderia moved swiftly to secure Carlos Sainz from McLaren to be Charles Leclerc’s new team-mate.
However, Vettel’s options for his next move look particularly thin. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has continuously refused to rule out the four-time World Champion joining the Silver Arrows, but current Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has been told Vettel isn’t an option at all.
Red Bull, meanwhile, are not interested in a Vettel reunion and it is believed that the current next best option of a move to Renault will not interest Vettel as he does not want to drop down into Formula 1’s midfield.
That has led to ex-Formula 1 owner and Vettel’s good friend Bernie Ecclestone telling him to take a year off.
“He should take a year off and then position himself for 2022,” Ecclestone told F1-Insider.
“He shouldn’t dream of a move to Mercedes. Toto Wolff has the power there, so why should he get Vettel when he has a superstar already in Lewis Hamilton?
“He also has the two drivers [Valtteri] Bottas, and [George] Russell who he has been promoting for years.”
The fairytale ending for Vettel at Ferrari would be to finally clinch that elusive World Championship title together, but Ecclestone has ended any notion of that particular dream.
“I don’t see Ferrari as a favourite,” he added.
“And even if they were level with Mercedes and Red Bull, why should Ferrari be interested if Vettel wins and beats the guy who is going to be there for years and then he goes? That doesn’t make sense.”
The 2020 season is almost here! Remind yourself of how the 2019 campaign played out with our friends at Racing Statistics: