Sebastian Vettel has been told by close friend Bernie Ecclestone to focus on being ready for the 2022 F1 season.
Sebastian Vettel should take a break when he leaves Ferrari and forget about moving to Mercedes ahead of the 2021 F1 season. That is the verdict of former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who cannot see Toto Wolff being interested in luring the German to the Silver Arrows.
Vettel is facing being without a seat next year with Ferrari opting not to keep him on and his options on the grid dwindling.
Red Bull and Racing Point chiefs have closed the door on the four-time F1 champion, while McLaren have agreed to sign Daniel Ricciardo.
Mercedes have been mooted as a possible landing spot for Vettel, with a dream team of the 32-year-old and Lewis Hamilton talked up.
Ecclestone, though, thinks his close friend would be better off taking a step back from F1 and coming back ahead of the 2022 campaign.
“He should take a year off in 2021 and then position himself in time for 2022,” Ecclestone told F1-Insider.com. “He shouldn’t dream of Mercedes.
“There Toto Wolff has the power. But why should Toto take a Vettel when he has the superstar of the scene with Lewis Hamilton?
“And when there are two drivers in the front row, [Valtteri] Bottas and [George] Russell, whom Toto has been promoting for a long time.”
Vettel will get his 2020 F1 campaign underway next month following the extended pre-season period caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ecclestone does not see Ferrari posing much of a threat to Mercedes’ hopes of extending their spell of dominance.
The veteran Brit, who plays backgammon with Vettel when they meet up, says Ferrari would not favour his pal even if he was in a position to challenge Hamilton for the title.
“I don’t see Ferrari as favorites, but Mercedes and Red Bull,” Ecclestone said. “And even if they were on an equal footing, why should Ferrari be interested in the fact that the one who leaves [Vettel] wins. That does not make sense.”
The reformulated 2020 F1 calendar will see Vettel and co. race twice at the Red Bull Ring in Austria next month.
The F1 circus will then make its way to Hungary, with a pair of Grands Prix at Silverstone on the cards in July.
The Spanish, Belgian and Italian Grands Prix will then be held at the Circuit de Catalunya, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and Monza respectively.
The European leg of the 2020 season looks likely to be extended into the autumn, particularly with the races in Singapore and Japan now cancelled.