Ferrari Formula 1 boss Mattia Binotto says Sebastian Vettel’s future at the team is “in his hands” after opening discussions over a renewed deal for 2021.

Vettel is one of the most high-profile drivers out of contract at the end of the season and his future at Maranello has been a major topic of speculation in recent months.

While talk of Lewis Hamilton making a sensational switch from Mercedes to Ferrari has cooled with the six-time world champion expected to stay put, Vettel’s future remains uncertain, with Daniel Ricciardo among the drivers being linked with the Scuderia.

Binotto confirmed talks over a new contract have now started with Vettel but said the four-time world champion is heading into a “key moment” of his career.

“We have started discussing a new deal,” Binotto told the official Formula 1 website.

“It’s important we address it quite soon. It’s not something we will leave until the end of the season. It’s important for him and for ourselves to get clarity as soon as we can.

“Discussions are ongoing, and hopefully that will be done soon.”

Binotto believes Vettel is in “very good shape” heading into the new season and will be better placed to handle the challenge of going up against Charles Leclerc, who has already been rewarded with a fresh long-term deal with Ferrari after beating Vettel in the championship during a stellar first season at the team. 

“He’s in a very good shape,” Binotto added. “I think he’s focused. He knows he needs to do well.

“It’s a key moment of his career, because whatever he may do at the start of the season will be important for his renewal. It’s in his hands. So I think he’s very motivated.

“Last year was important for him. Charles' performance took him by surprise. It’s not the case anymore, he knows where the benchmark is and he knows what he needs to do, so I think he has prepared himself very well through the winter.

“He spent last year trying to understand what went wrong and making sure he does better this year.”

 

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