The four-time World Champion is now in the final year of the three-year deal which he signed in 2017, a contract worth €100 million.
However, it is the emergence of Leclerc which has hurt Vettel in this situation.
Sky Sports Italia are reporting that Vettel has been offered a new deal by the Scuderia, but only a one-year extension, and it would involve a serious cut to his salary.
Vettel had a poor 2019 by his standards – Leclerc came into the team and in his first season scored more wins, poles and points than Vettel, finishing P4 in the Drivers’ Championship, 24 points ahead of his vastly more experienced team-mate.
Several driver errors also creeped in for Vettel last year, and the fact that 2020 hasn’t got going yet means he hasn’t been able to prove himself again, and so his stock has dropped.
Currently the coronavirus pandemic means that the 2020 season will not begin until June 14 with the Canadian Grand Prix at the very earliest. That race remains under serious threat though, as does the British Grand Prix as far ahead as July 19.
The report states that Vettel has little bargaining power with Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz and Antonio Giovinazzi all on their radar.
Ricciardo joined Renault ahead of the 2019 season, but with the project yet to reap any rewards, he may move on when his two-year deal expires at the end of 2020.
Sainz enjoyed the best season of his career so far in 2019, finishing P6 in the Drivers’ Championship, whilst also giving McLaren their first podium since 2014 with P3 at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Giovinazzi is more of a wildcard – he didn’t set the series alight last year at Alfa Romeo but progressed steadily throughout the season and remains part of the Ferrari Driver Academy.
If Ferrari wanted to go down the route of having a clear No.1 and No.2 driver again, then Giovinazzi is the obvious option.
Leclerc’s contract with the teams runs until 2024.