Wealth of young talent means Ferrari right to wait on Vettel's F1 future

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Ferrari is right to wait on deciding Sebastian Vettel's future post-2020 due to the wave of young talent, ex-sporting director Cesare Fiorio says.

The German is out of contract at the Scuderia after this season and though team boss Mattia Binotto has suggested a decision should be made by May, a more likely timeline is over the summer break in August.

That's because Vettel must consider first his own performance, his position next to Charles Leclerc and whether his dream of winning a championship at Ferrari is still attainable.

But as Fiorio explained, the Italian team will have some criteria of their own.

“Vettel made an exaggerated number of mistakes during 2019, but he did try and correct that a little bit in the last part of the season,” he told FormulaPassion.it.

“The on-track mistakes contrast so much with the strong experience Vettel obtained with Red Bull when he won four world championships. So Binotto’s approach [to wait on making a decision about Vettel] is justified if we consider two aspects.

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“First, the arrival of Leclerc who has demonstrated his significant skills already by claiming victories and pole positions without any fear of his more experienced teammate.

“And second, the arrival of some very promising young drivers coming in from the minor formulas, formulas that look more and more like Formula 1 even if the cars have lower power and performance.

“These formulas are a fundamental training base in the preparation to make the jump to Formula 1," he noted.

"In recent times, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Lando Norris, George Russell, Alex Albon, Antonio Giovinazzi, have all come up through the ranks with promise.

"F3, F2 and F1 are fairly level today, excluding engine quality. With this in mind, I understand Mattia Binotto’s foresight in wanting to keep up with the important evolution that Formula 1 will have on the drivers coming through and maybe consider them for the future.”

Of course, traditionally, Ferrari would never consider having two young drivers in their cars, given the promotion of Leclerc was itself a shift from the norm.

Perhaps the performance of the Monegasque might alter that approach but if Vettel was to leave, which is something Seb is more likely to instigate, there is also a swathe of more experienced drivers like Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas and perhaps even Carlos Sainz they could consider.

Certainly, the big rumour of Lewis Hamilton making a move from Mercedes appears less likely than it did at the end of last year.