Ecclestone doubts over Vettel's long-term F1 future

Bernie Ecclestone doubts that Sebastian Vettel will stay in Formula 1 beyond the end of his current Ferrari contract.

Like most drivers on the grid, Vettel’s deal will expire at the end of 2020, with F1 then set to fall under Liberty Media’s revamped regulations the following season.

Vettel is among several drivers to have previously voiced doubts at continuing when the new rulebook comes into force, although it appears that many concerns have been allayed.

The German’s chief concern may be Lewis Hamilton seemingly eyeing up his seat for 2021. The Mercedes man has met with Ferrari top brass in 2019 and has refused to rule out pursuing a move to Maranello.

Vettel has also made noises regarding frustrations with modern-day F1, especially after being stripped of victory at this year’s Canadian GP and Ecclestone believes the four-time world champion may have foreshadowed an imminent departure from the sport.

“I haven’t seen him him lately doing whatever he can to win,” Ecclestone is quoted as telling Sport Bild.

“I would not put my money on it [Vettel remaining in F1 in 2021], but he will make the right decision.”

Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri said recently that the Scuderia were “flattered” to have fielded interest from Hamilton, but stopped short of suggesting a deal could be struck.

Vettel would almost certainly be the one to make way if Hamilton did swap silver for red, with Charles Leclerc contracted to Maranello until 2022.