After the news this week that Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of 2020, the question now is; who will Ferrari sign to replace him?
Though the Italian squad haven’t won a Drivers’ Championship since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, it remains one of the most sought-after seats in Formula One.
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton is a 16/1 shot to drive in red next year, ahead of former Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso (33/1) and Mick Schumacher, son of Ferrari legend Michael, at 50/1.
The Vettel – Ferrari fallout
Vettel joined the Scuderia in 2015, with the aim of ending the red team’s championship drought.
And after a couple of seasons settling in together, Vettel and Ferrari became serious championship contenders in 2017 and 2018.
They had the measure of rivals Mercedes but critical mistakes by driver and team saw them miss out in both seasons. Crucially, it also began to drive a wedge between the four-time champion and the Maranello squad.
And when young hotshot Charles Leclerc arrived last season and showed Vettel the way, the writing was on the wall for the German driver, with Ferrari now seeing Leclerc as their strongest chance of returning to the glory days.
The contenders – Sainz, Ricciardo, Hamilton?
Our traders make Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo the early favourites to succeed Vettel at Maranello.
McLaren’s Sainz has seen his stock rise sharply last season after a series of superb and intelligent drivers saw him finish sixth in the standings.
There should be more to come from the amiable 25-year-old in the coming years, and it’s believed he is yet to reach a deal with the McLaren team for 2021.
Ricciardo is five years Sainz’s senior but is one of the few on the grid to have won multiple Grand Prix, doing so seven times for Red Bull.
The Australian has Italian heritage, has had talks with Ferrari in the past and is a free agent for 2021, as he nears the end of a two-year deal with Renault. It’s also believed Ricciardo would have little issue in battling against Leclerc, as Vettel did in 2019.
As for Hamilton, the six-time champion has repeatedly stated his respect for Ferrari, and he is out of contract for 2021.
A move to the Prancing Horse would seem unlikely given Hamilton’s success with Mercedes, but with the German marquee still unsure of their future in the sport, Hamilton may well be keeping his options open for now.
And it seems unlikely too that Ferrari would go back to Alonso, who drove for the team from 2010 to 2014.
Despite almost twice winning the championship together, Alonso ended his contract a year early due to a series of disagreements with the team.
Ladbrokes latest odds:
To drive for Ferrari in 2021:
Carlos Sainz – 8/11
Daniel Ricciardo – 11/4
Valtteri Bottas – 14/1
Daniil Kvyat – 16/1
Lewis Hamilton – 16/1
Antonio Giovinazzi – 20/1
Nico Hulkenberg – 25/1
Fernando Alonso – 33/1
Mick Schumacher – 50/1
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.