As the news broke that Sebastian Vettel would be leaving Scuderia Ferrari, attention immediately turned to who would be the likely candidate to take his place. Even Mercedes posted that ‘Hamilton’ was trending on social media.
Indeed, Lewis Hamilton would be the man who Ferrari want the most and there was talk in recent weeks that the world number one could leave the current Constructor’s Champions. However, the Brit did attempt to kill off speculation insisting that he wanted to stay with Toto Wolff and his team. Valteri Bottas could also be on Ferrari’s radar. The number two driver at Mercedes could see the move as a chance to truly compete with Hamilton if he is offered the number one spot. This is an interesting prospect but it is important to note that Mercedes did produce a different world champion in the form of Nico Rosberg who was given the chance to have a go at his teammate Hamilton and the same could be true for Bottas.
So if not Hamilton or Bottas, Ferrari’s next choice would be the candidate that they believe could dethrone Mercedes and aid Charles LeClerc in stealing that Constructor’s title from their German rivals. It does not seem likely that the Italian manufacturers would be interested in a young-gun driver as they already have that, which rules out a number of drivers such as Lando Norris, former F2 Champion George Russell and even the likes of Pierre Gasly. Although, Ferrari may be tempted to pouch the young Antonio Giovinazzi from Alpha Romeo. An Italian in the driver’s seat certainly suits the brand and there is no doubt that Giovinazzi would jump at the opportunity.
Nico Hulkenberg would be desperate for the chance to get back on the grid and his departure from F1 was quite unfortunate and arguably untimely. A talented prospect and would no doubt have a point to prove. The other former F1 driver who could make a reappearance is Ferrari’s own Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard has not left the world of racing and thus his desire to compete is quite evidential. Whether he would want to come back is the determining factor when considering Alonso as a candidate as he seems to be enjoying his new racing lifestyle.
Daniel Riccardo is driver that is not short on confidence and in the right car, could take the fight to both his teammate and Ferrari’s rivals. Riccardo’s move from Redbull to Renault was a huge shock and did not serve the Australian well. Ferrari may not select this charismatic racer based on how he adapted to his new team but it would definitely look to benefit Riccardo who had a troubled 2019 season. The man he replaced, Carlos Sainz, has however adapted far better to his new team. It is no secret that the Spanish born driver was devastated when he lost his seat at Renault but showed true character at McLaren finishing above Riccardo in a respectable sixth place. Ferrari may choose to after Sainz for this very reason.
A name that has not been floating around is undoubtedly Hamilton’s most outspoken rival Max Verstappen. The Dutch driver finished third last year but completely ruled himself out of the running. In fact, he predicts that Sainz would be the man to replace Vettel. Only time will tell but the shift will certainly make for a great F1 plot come next season.
13 May 2020
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