Australian F1 star Daniel Ricciardo is in line for a shock switch to Ferrari, according to international reports.
UPDATE 5:20pm 12/5/20: Ferrari has confirmed Sebastian Vettel will leave the team at the end of the year.
The unconfirmed speculation comes after negotiations for Sebastian Vettel’s 2021 contract renewal with the Italian team fell through.
Respected German publication Auto Motor und Sport reported that Vettel and Ferrari could not reach an agreement over the four-time world champion's new contract, citing its short duration and a salary reduction as contributing factors in the decision to part ways.
It’s believed Vettel’s teammate Charles LeClerc will assume the team’s number one driver spot after signing a five-year contract last year.
Vettel leaving Ferrari would make the seat available for Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who is a frontrunner according to overseas reports.
The seven-time grand prix winner has had a less than stellar run with current team Renault after leaving the competitive Red Bull Racing team at the end of 2018.
Reports from respected industry outlet motorsport.com say Ricciardo has decided to leave Renault, and that he and Vettel may swap seats, following the French team making Vettel a “concrete offer”.
Reports also claim Ricciardo has already met ‘informally’ with Ferrari to discuss options.
Other possible candidates to fill the seat at Ferrari include six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton – who has also reportedly met with Ferrari and has yet to sign a 2021 contract with his current team Mercedes-AMG, according to Auto Sport – and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.
Ferrari is expected to make an official statement regarding Vettel’s future later today.