Despite being confident of being able to re-sign in May, Sebastian Vettel and Scuderia Ferrari have announced they will not be extending the current contract.
Whilst there’s no doubt Mattia Binotto’s phone won’t have stopped ringing since the confirmation, what should the Italian outfits shortlist look like?
Right off of the bat Ferrari promoting a junior driver straight into main Ferrari seat wouldn’t be in their best interest.
Logically the drivers they’d bring up are their current F2 starlets and as Charles Leclerc will tell you F1 cars work completely different compared to F2 cars, having to learn the ropes at Ferrari with the tifosi’s pressure to bring home a title isn’t a good recipe for the team.
From the driver’s side that could completely ruin your confidence and as we’ve seen many times if a driver loose their confidence they are certainly in for a rough road.
Ferrari trialed a system within the team of 2 number one drivers and struggled to keep to maintain fairness between drivers, so logically they’d look to restore the old ‘number 1 and number 2’ driver system they previously ran with Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen and before them Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. So who wouldn’t mind having to move at the way for Leclerc and occasionally being used as a sacrifice for strategic gain;
Giovinazzi would be logical if Ferrari wanted to keep their theme of promoting from within then Giovinazzi makes the most sense. Already F1 tested Antonio held his own against Raikkonen only being out qualified by he world champion teammate by +0.005s. Given Giovinazzi was still learning the ropes last year that’s incredible. Antonio won’t be quick to outperform Leclerc on a regular bases but if will be able to around in background to clean up the mess.
This is farfetched but here me out; Bottas has shown he is a very capable number 2 driver, he won’t argue when told to move out the way and brings in plenty of experience. Ferrari have always preferred an older experienced driver and Leclerc is only 22 – he still could crumble under the pressure of his first title fight like with seen in the past with Lewis Hamilton in 2007 or even Sebastian Vettel in 2009. Bottas also brings along a few Mercedes secret which I’m sure Ferrari will happily accept.
Daniil Kvyat during his year hiatus was Ferrari test and reserve driver meaning he’s fairly familiar with the staff and factory, Daniil has showed in 2015 he can hold his own in at the sharp end of the field. In 2019 he also showed how much he had matured with the clearest example being his stellar podium drive. Kvyat wouldn’t be there as long term option, Ferrari have Mick Schumacher, Marcus Armstrong, Giuliano Alesi Robert Shwartman and Callum Ilott all on in Formula 2. If Ferrari don’t think one of them are ready to make the leap forward so they can promote Giovinazzi why not bring in the Russian driver to steady the ship and be the give the Scuderia time to develop their young guns.
Sergio Perez was rushed into a top tier seat by McLaren in 2014 and whilst struggling he only finished 25 point short of experienced teammate Jenson Button in the pairs one and only year together. Since then Perez has been perfecting his craft with Force India, holding his nerve in races filed with chaos and finding his way to the podium and developing the car to being a midfield stable and beating his teammates confidently whilst he was at it. Perez was also affiliated to Ferrari and was rated very highly by the Scuderia. Providing he left with no bad blood Ferrari could be the top team he goes to and preforms to the best of his ability.
If Ferrari decide that Leclerc needs somebody to push him and want somebody capable of being a equal number 1 driver Ferrari aren’t short of options;
Carlos Sainz Jr.
After a driver of the season year Carlos Sainz’s value has never been higher, he managed to help McLaren develop their way out of the mess Alonso and co left them in and proven himself to be a star in the making. His time at McLaren can be highlighted by his superb podium in Brazil, keeping his cool making his way from last through the mess quickly and efficiently. The smooth operators contract in Woking expires soon and McLaren could very much face a fight to keep his services.
Arguably the paddocks best overtaker Daniel Ricciardo spent last year strolling around in the midfield after Renault’s yearly progress came to a screeching halt. Ricciardo has made no secret of his ambiton to get back to the sharp end of the field and be in title contentions sooner rather later and if Renault can’t find a way to provide him that car Ferrari more than likely will.
Surely you knew he was going to be on this list, it seems Hamilton would like to be in the red of Ferrari at some point before he ends his illustrious career. Ferrari’s coming off of their first decade in history of not winning a championship and if they want to put a end to that streak as soon as possible why wouldn’t you want Hamilton in your car? From Hamilton’s side, ending Ferrari’s title drought, building then up like Schumacher before him did that’s got to be appetizing to Lewis and his quest to be the sports best ever.