Vettel linked to McLaren as Ecclestone says Ferrari is 'in love' with Leclerc

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Sebastian Vettel has been linked with a surprise move to McLaren in 2021, with Bernie Ecclestone believing he isn't happy at Ferrari.

The German is out of contract at the Italian team after this season and while team boss Mattia Binotto says he is more than welcome to stay, the four-time champion appears less committed.

Why is that? Well, the former Formula 1 boss believed the events of 2019 played a key part as Charles Leclerc arrived and instantly made his mark at Ferrari.

"He did a sh***y job and I told him so," Ecclestone said of his good friend Vettel via the Daily Mail.

"He finished where he deserved to but Ferrari favoured Leclerc, 100 per cent. They fall in love with a driver there and it is hard for the other guy. A lot of things went on against Sebastian.

"The business in Canada upset Sebastian... he thought Ferrari should have backed him more and got stuck in. He's right."

Bernie also feels the Italian team might be backing the wrong horse as he downplayed Leclerc's potential.

"I think we have seen the best of Leclerc," the Briton added. "He has done well and will continue to do so but I don't think we'll see anything spectacular."

With Vettel then seemingly the biggest catch in the market, McLaren has been touted as a potential option mostly because of their F1 team boss Andreas Seidl.

“Seidl knows Vettel well from their time together at BMW and if Sebastian is to be had, he will certainly think about him. It would also be a strong PR coup for McLaren-Mercedes," the F1-Insider reported, with Timo Glock also recently touting the German connection.

One place that isn't opening its doors to their former superstar though is Red Bull.

"We had some great moments with him, but now he belongs to our past and we don't look back," team boss Christian Horner told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Last year Seb seemed to be in some difficulty against Charles (Leclerc), but he remains a great driver and if he gets the car he wants then he can still be very competitive."

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Another option that can't be ruled out is retirement with Vettel admitting now, at the age of 32, he knows his years left are limited.

"Of course you look ahead," he told Dutch outlet GPUpdate. "If I am realistic, I won't be here in 10 years' time, because I think you realise that we as sportspeople and athletes share a destiny that our time is limited.

"I think it's something you ask yourself more often when you're 30 or 32 than when you're 20: where will I be in 10 years?

"Because by the age of 20, everything can be the same or different, but by the age of 30 I think due to the fact that I'm in a sport that my time is limited, so you see something coming your way even if you don't want to.

"It would be foolish to ignore that, but that doesn't mean I wake up every morning and wonder what I'll be doing in five years."