Vettel offered 2021 Ferrari contract but with a big caveat, say Sky Italia

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Ferrari has offered Sebastian Vettel a one-year contract extension but it comes with the caveat of a pay cut, Sky Italia is reporting.

The German is out of contract at the Scuderia after this year and since the start of the year, team boss Mattia Binotto has been clear that retaining Vettel is his first choice for 2021.

After the arrival and emergence of Charles Leclerc last year, however, internally at Maranello it seems if the four-time world champion wants to stay on for another year, he'll have to accept his status has dropped within the team.

"In 2017 things looked very different for Vettel," a source quoted by Sky Italia explained.

"With [former Ferrari chairman] Sergio Marchionne, he agreed to sign up for three seasons, for a total value of 100 million Euros. Those years he was undoubtedly the leader of the team."

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Though only speculation, Vettel has been linked to a surprise move to McLaren for next season due to his previous links with the team boss at the Woking-based squad Andreas Seidl.

Analysing the rumoured information on contract talks however, the reporters claimed: "If Vettel refuses that doesn't necessarily mean he can find a seat somewhere else.

"The next few months will be important for Vettel, his future is at stake without him being able to prove his worth on the track. For the first time in his life, he will enter the contract meeting without having the power in his hands."

If the 32-year-old was to depart Ferrari, the other big question is who would replace him alongside Leclerc?

Names like Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo and even Antonio Giovinazzi have been put forward, but one man Felipe Massa believes his former team should not consider is world champion, Lewis Hamilton.

“If I were in the place of Binotto I would not change, there is a great balance in the current pairing between the talent of Leclerc and the four titles won by Vettel,” the Brazilian told Il Corriere dello Sport.

“If I had to change, I’d take Ricciardo, he’s very strong and it’s always interesting to see how he runs.

“Hamilton would be a mistake, in my opinion, he could mentally destroy Leclerc and slow his growth.”