Sebastian Vettel says there is a “high chance” that a decision will be made on a contract renewal with Ferrari before the Formula 1 season resumes.
The German’s current agreement with the Scuderia expires at the end of this year but racing will not take place at least until late-June in France, and the prospect of that event going ahead on its original date is doubtful.
While Charles Leclerc is already signed on through to the end of 2024, Ferrari’s other seat is as yet unspoken for.
“I think it depends when we’ll have the first race,” said Vettel about determining a new deal with Ferrari.
“I think we’re all waiting for the situation… One of the key things now for everyone – whether you’re in sport or not – is to remain patient. But looking at myself, it obviously depends when we will have the first race.
“There is a high chance we will have to make a decision before there will be the first race, because at the moment it looks like there will be no race before June, or even July.
“We are all waiting, but I think the main priority at first was to ensure that we’re all dealing with the situation in the right way. Therefore, everything was put on hold. I can imagine that’s the same everywhere else, and it was the same for us.
“It’s not like a couple of days after Australia we said ‘right now (we’ll talk)’. I think we will make progress, but I don’t think there’s a real timeline.
“Whether it will be before the first race or not depends on when we will have the first race.”
The 32-year-old also sees no reason why his age will necessarily limit the term of the agreement should he ink another contract with Ferrari.
“Whatever the deal will be like, it will be whatever I and the team will be comfortable with,” said Vettel.
“So, in terms of duration I don’t know. Normally the contracts I’ve had in the past were all three-year deals.
“I know I’m one of the more experienced drivers in Formula 1 but I’m not the oldest and I don’t think there’s an age limit in this regard.”
It had been suggested that Lewis Hamilton might make the move from Mercedes to Ferrari when his contract also runs out at the end of 2020.
However, at the Maranello squad’s season launch in February, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto stated regarding such speculation, “I think Seb is our first choice at the moment, and obviously it’s something we are discussing with him and we will continue discussing, but he’s certainly our first option, our preference at the moment.”
In the meantime, Vettel could face a pay cut due to the revenue hit caused by the pandemic, but declared that he would be keeping such matters private.
“It is definitely something I am talking about with the team,” confirmed Vettel.
“As I said earlier, we don’t know yet how the season will look and when it will start and how many races we will have, et cetera.
“I’ve always kept whatever decisions I made on this front between the team and myself and it will be the same this time. I’m not keen to use this point at this time as an image polish or anything like that.
“What I’ve decided to do in the past it has been quiet and it will be the same now.”