Sebastian Vettel is on Mercedes’ radar in case they cannot find a “solution” within their own ranks.
Sebastian Vettel will only be turned to if Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff cannot find what he’s looking for in the Silver Arrows’ current crop of drivers. The four-time F1 champion is on the lookout for new opportunities for 2021 after it was confirmed he will leave Ferrari when his contract expires.
Red Bull chief Christian Horner has already shut down talk of a reunion with Vettel, while McLaren have secured Daniel Ricciardo’s services for when Carlos Sainz joins Ferrari.
Renault have been mooted as a possible landing spot for the German, with a blockbuster potential switch to Mercedes speculated over as well.
Vettel would likely take Valtteri Bottas’ seat if he joined the reigning F1 champions and would form a dream team with long-time rival Lewis Hamilton.
Wolff has confirmed Mercedes are keeping tabs on Vettel after being taken aback by Ferrari’s announcement of his impending departure.
However, the Austrian has outlined how Hamilton and Bottas, as well as junior driver programme graduates George Russell and Esteban Ocon, are in front of Vettel in the queue for a seat in one of Mercedes’ all-conquering Silver Arrows.
“I said it before, Sebastian is a four-time world champion and him suddenly becoming available was unexpected and therefore it is a situation that needs to be monitored,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.
“Where could he potentially go? Where are we with our drivers? And what I said is that I wouldn’t discount Sebastian for any seat.
“We have looked at the situation. Our priority and concentration is on our Mercedes drivers. That’s Lewis, Valtteri and the juniors; [Williams driver] George Russell being one of them. Esteban, obviously, is a Renault driver today.
“And only if we can’t find a solution within that group of drivers will we look elsewhere. And then obviously Sebastian is in a very good position.”
Vettel is not the only driver facing an uncertain future, however, with more than half of the current grid out of contract at the end of the 2020 season.
Hamilton and Bottas are yet to agree fresh terms with Mercedes, while Alex Albon is in the final 12 months of his Red Bull deal.
Only Russell, Ocon, Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Lando Norris have confirmed seats for 2021.
Lance Stroll is, though, expected to remain with Racing Point when they are rebranded as Aston Martin following his father’s investment in the British car manufacturer.