Ricciardo believes 'hungry' Vettel wants F1 stay, but 2021 options are reducing

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Despite announcing he's leaving Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo believes Sebastian Vettel wants to stay in Formula 1 next year.

Last month, the four-time world champion confirmed he and the Scuderia had mutually agreed not to renew his contract beyond 2020, suggesting there was no longer the common desire to continue.

But whereas some think that decision is the prelude to confirming his retirement from F1, Ricciardo thinks the 32-year-old still has more to offer.

"If I know him well enough, I believe he's still hungry and competitive enough to want to continue,” the Australian told CNN recently. "Also because he's still older than me, [I hope he stays] so it makes me not the oldest guy.

"I like Seb. Obviously, I had him as a teammate, but as a competitor, he brings something to our sport.

"He's one of the very few if not the only one that isn't active on social media, and he's one of the most successful people ever in our sport, yet he's one of the most private, and even that in itself brings a lot of mystery behind him."

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In terms of possible seat options for 2021, Vettel is rather limited with Mercedes, Renault and Racing Point the three teams most often mentioned.

This week, however, Toto Wolff said he "owes it" to the German to keep him in mind should Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas 'do a Rosberg' at the end of the year.

But technical director James Allison doubts such a scenario will occur.

"I imagine if that were to happen then both men would figure out a way to make it work," he told the F1 Nation podcast on Friday.

“Clearly Lewis is a phenomenal driver and Sebastian has got a fair few achievements under his belt as well.

“But I find it very difficult to imagine that the many good options that we have around us would ever evaporate to that extent.”

As for Racing Point, CEO and team boss Otmar Szafnauer also made it clear Vettel isn't on their radar.

“It’s certainly been an interesting few weeks in the driver market with some headline-grabbing moves out there,” he said speaking on the team's website.

“I’m sure it’s kept the fans entertained and the media busy. But from our perspective, the headline for next season is the name above the factory doors rather than the names in the cockpit.”

In other words, Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez are set to stay as the Silverstone-based outfit becomes Aston Martin from 2021.