The escalating tension between Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel has sent the Formula One rumour mill into overdrive, with Aussie driver Daniel Ricciardo’s name coming up amid rumours of upheaval at the Italian team.
A tumultuous Russian Grand Prix saw the fractured relationship between the two Ferrari drivers play out on team radio during the race. with Vettel not following team instructions to let Leclerc regain the lead as part of a pre-race agreement between the two drivers.
Despite winning the previous three races, Ferrari were forced to manage their two drivers after a strategy quirk at the previous race in Singapore led Vettel, who qualified third, to win the race over Leclerc, who started on pole.
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The team had clearly made an agreement to help Leclerc, who had again qualified on pole maintain his lead of the race and hold off chief rival, Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton.
But that went out the window as Vettel pulled away from Leclerc early in the race, before falling behind in the pitstop and eventually retiring from the Russian GP with mechanical issues.
The tension between the pair has become a talking point throughout the F1 world, with Vettel’s former boss at Red Bull Racing, Dr Helmut Marko, declaring the four time world champion had ‘no future at Ferrari’.
““Ferrari has managed to not win with the fastest car,” Marko said in an interview with German outlet Auto Bild.
“And although he was the fastest man, they sacrificed Sebastian.
“He has no future at Ferrari anymore.”
Rumours swirl around Vettel, Ricciardo’s future
Marko’s comments have only furthered speculation of wholesale changes to the grid for the 2020 season, with a seat potentially up for grabs at Red Bull and rumours swirling around Vettel’s future in F1.
While the German champion is contracted for the 2020 season, there has long been speculation he could opt out of that contract and potentially either retire or join a new team.
A reunion with Red Bull, where he won four straight world championships, has often been talked up as a potential landing spot for Vettel, but the team has already indicated Max Verstappen will be their lead driver for the forseeable future.
But Red Bull haven’t settled on who takes their second seat, with Frenchman Pierre Gasly taking over from Ricciardo to begin the 2019 season, before he was cut and replaced by Thailand’s Alexander Albon.
The team has yet to confirm their second driver for 2020, with the door still open for an unlikely reunion with the team’s most successful driver.
Rumours of Vettel’s departure have also drawn in Daniel Ricciardo, with some speculating the Australian could end up replacing his former teammate at Ferrari.
Ricciardo has endured a thoroughly underwhelming first season with Renault, consistently struggling to break into the top 10 despite some encouraging results.
The French manufacturer has been eclipsed by rival and engine customer McLaren this season, leading to suggestions Ricciardo could want out of his lucrative deal if a more competitive seat becomes available.