Sergio Pérez believes Sebastian Vettel could retire at the end of the 2020 season rather than join another team following yesterdays announcement that he would be leaving Scuderia Ferrari.
Vettel will depart Ferrari after six seasons with the Maranello-based squad and has been linked to drives at both the Renault DP World F1 Team and McLaren F1 Team for next year. His replacement at Ferrari has yet to be determined.
However, Pérez, who races for the BWT Racing Point F1 Team that will evolve into the works Aston Martin Racing Team in 2021, says Vettel will definitely consider retiring from the sport come the end of the current campaign, particularly after all the time he has had to reflect and think during the current coronavirus pandemic.
“We’d heard things were maybe not going well,” Pérez said to Motorsport.com. “Both sides not feeling as the years before. I think the [Charles] Leclerc factor has been key there.
“Their bet for the future is clearly this young driver who has done an incredible first season with the team and I think from that you could see many other things stem.
“Maybe during this lockdown he has realised many things, and it has served him to reflect. It will depend on how much he wants it. His options to continue could be McLaren maybe, but I doubt it.
“It could be probably his last year in F1. I see him closer to retirement than to a different team, but we don’t know. I speak more as a fan, I don’t know exactly what’s going through his mind.”
Sainz Would Deserve Promotion to Top Team
Carlos Sainz Jr. looks ever increasingly likely to be a Ferrari driver in 2021, although Daniel Ricciardo has also been heavily linked to the Italian outfit, and Pérez feels both drivers would be good options for the team.
“In the end, sometimes you don’t understand why a driver fits and another one doesn’t,” added the Mexican. “It will depend on their interests, what they are looking for from that driver inside the team.
“We’re about to learn who that is. Both are very good options for the team. Carlos has had a great season with McLaren and, in the end in F1, you have to remember this is about the moment, about opportunities, there is a very short memory. He has high chances, and he deserves it.
“I think he is a great professional, an excellent driver, very hard-working, he understands the races well, he knows how to make the most of his opportunities, and well, I think it is a well-deserved opportunity to be considered beside Leclerc. He’s young also, he has everything ahead of him.”
Racing for Ferrari is a Unique Opportunity
Pérez acknowledges that whilst the lure of Ferrari is great, joining the team is not necessarily the right move for every driver, especially if they are looking for a dedicated number two driver to Leclerc.
“Not for any driver,” he said. “But racing for Ferrari is a unique opportunity, it’s the team with the most history. The team has changed a lot recently, they didn’t use to take on such young drivers as Leclerc and now they have.
“Maybe they want some competition between their drivers, it’s difficult to know. We’ll see about contract duration, et cetera, but that aside, it is an important seat on the grid that has suddenly opened.”