Vettel's 2020 deadline to save Ferrari career

Sebastian Vettel may have just five races to save his Ferrari career next year, with Mattia Binotto revealing thoughts will turn to the team’s 2021 line-up at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Vettel struggled for consistency in 2019 after an error-strewn end to 2018 cost him in a title fight with Lewis Hamilton.

The emergence of Charles Leclerc and a Canadian Grand Prix which saw Vettel harshly stripped of victory prompted suggestions that the four-time world champion may be considering his future in Formula 1.

Perhaps now of more pressing concern for the former Red Bull driver is Hamilton’s reported pursuit of a 2021 Ferrari seat, something the Scuderia’s CEO Louis Camilleri recently said had “flattered” the top brass at Maranello.

With Leclerc on a contract understood to run to 2022, Vettel may need a spectacular start to next season if he is to convince Ferrari not to replace him with Hamilton, or another driver.

“We have to see the performance, the way he adapts to the car and his motivation for the future,” team principal Mattia Binotto said of Vettel’s long-term prospects.

“It’s not about whether he makes mistakes or not. It’s really about how he sees his future and how we see our team.

“Ferrari has the advantage that we are very popular among the drivers. We are in a privileged situation.

“By the beginning of May, roughly around the race in Spain, we want to know where the journey will go in 2021.”