This Formula 1 season has already affected the careers of several drivers without being driven in any lap.
Some are heading for the big move, when four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel could win the paddock for the final time.
After Germany decided not to renew the contract with Ferrari last week, the Italian team was quick to sign Carlos Sanz from McLaren on a two-year deal.
The Spaniard secured Brazil’s first podium last year and was the stand-out non-top-three driver who finished sixth in the standings. He has the best balance of talent, age, salary requirements and the lowest maintenance.
It will be interesting to see how the 25-year-old rents out competitive cars and against geniuses like Charles Leclerc. This provides a bright future for Scuderia’s youngest lineup.
The signing of the Madrid man as Ferrari’s second driver was important, but the announcement of Daniel Ricardo’s resignation from the vacant McLaren seat for 2021 was equally interesting.
The seven-time Grand Prix-winning Australian had a tough time at Renault in his first season, only finishing fourth and finishing ninth in the standings.
A switch from McLaren for subsequent promotions, including the new Mercedes power unit, could help revive his fight for podiums.
The big question is what this means for Vettel. Does retirement indicate for the Germans or does he hang on to a final deal? Could his move to Renault, who won four world titles in the Red Bull days, be an option? Does he really want to take a step back though?
Renault team chief Cyril Abitbull had earlier said he would not take any action on behalf of the 32-year-old. The demand for his salary may be higher but it will be a serious coup for the French side as they continue to advance towards the front of the grid.
If Reno does not opt for Vettel’s services, it will open the door to another former world champion, Fernando Alonso. The 38-year-old Spaniard has won two world titles in 2005 and 2006 with Aston-based clothing and claims the sport has an incomplete business.
He put the F1 in Toyota Hybrid Driving in Le Mans in 2018 and even an improved Renault car would certainly be more attractive than trying to win the Indy 500.
It all depends on whether Alonso has the bite to fully commit to a 21-race season on if he doesn’t, the seat will be lost to Vettel, but he wants to stay in the game after 13 years.
Elsewhere, Mercedes could have zero seats by the end of the season as Valerie Botas enters the final year of his contract.
Toto Wolf also has a sense of youth, and one would assume that if he puts someone in the Botswana seat, it is probably Williams ’George Russell, 22, who has been in the Mercedes book for some time.
Among other drivers, Alexander Albon and Kimi Ryakkonen’s contracts for Red Bull and Alfa Romeo expire in 2020. However, you would think that Alban would renew his contract, and in Reikkenen’s future plans it would be 50-50 F1. He turned 41 in October.
Without any hint about when the season will start again, recent moves on the grid are seen as the first part of a fascinating patchwork of change in the coming months.
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