Sebastian Vettel might clear the way for Lewis Hamilton to complete an eagerly-anticipated move to Ferrari by following the example of F1 great Michael Schumacher. Vettel is out of contract at the end of the season and saw junior team-mate Charles Leclerc handed a long-term deal over the winter while he was made to wait on fresh terms.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has, though, confirmed Vettel is the Prancing Horse’s first-choice option to drive alongside Leclerc next year.
Vettel is yet to add to the four World Drivers’ Championship titles he won with Red Bull during his time in the Italian’s iconic red car.
And he’s now suggested this season might be his last with them by his own choice, as he has not ruled out leaving for another team.
Asked if it’s possible he will drive for a team other than Ferrari, Vettel told Sport Bild: “It is.”
Vettel then referenced Ferrari icon Schumacher, adding: “I think there is even an example of a German who went somewhere else after Ferrari, if I remember correctly.”
Schumacher, who won five of his record seven World Drivers’ Championship titles with Ferrari, left F1’s most illustrious team when he retired in 2006.
He returned to the sport four years later, though, signing up with Mercedes following their takeover of the Brawn GP team.
Should Vettel depart Ferrari, it may lead to Hamilton calling time on his own spell with the Silver Arrows in order to join Mattia Binotto’s team.
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Ferrari chief Louis Camilleri revealed at the team’s post-2019 season debrief at Maranello that Hamilton is interested in joining them.
Hamilton has previously spoken of his admiration for the Prancing Horse and recently admitted he’s a fan of their car during an interview in which he was sat across from Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.
Asked by Sky Sports F1 pundit Martin Brundle if he fancied having a crack at glory with Ferrari, Hamilton replied: “I think that’s like a short-term kind of thing.
“If you look at all drivers who have driven for Ferrari, obviously it’s an incredible team and obviously the car’s always beautiful red. I have got red on my helmet. Red is the colour of passion or love or whatever you want to say.
“But what Mercedes have done for all their drivers – even Sir Stirling Moss is still a part of the team – they honour that and you become a part of a legacy and a life-long partner, which I think is super appealing.”
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