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'Ferrari eye Ricciardo and Bottas to replace Vettel'

'Ferrari eye Ricciardo and Bottas to replace Vettel'

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'Ferrari eye Ricciardo and Bottas to replace Vettel'

'Ferrari eye Ricciardo and Bottas to replace Vettel'

As rumours of Sebastian Vettel considering retiring from formula 1 this year continue to swirl, Ferrari have reportedly begun to plot a contingency, identifying Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel as replacements.

Veteran F1 journalist Dan Knutson, writing for AutoAction, claims that Ferrari have begun to "put out informal feelers" to drivers if they need to replace Vettel this winter.

Vettel has looked increasingly exasperated in recent races, and was in particularly lamentable mood after having victory at the Canadian Grand Prix taken away from him by a penalty for gaining an advantage over Lewis Hamilton by exceeding track limits.

He has since insisted that he remains committed to seeing out the remainder of his Ferrari contract at the very least, with his deal running until the end of next year.

However, that has apparently not stopped the Scuderia from looking for alternatives, despite team principal Mattia Binotto saying last weekend in Austria that Vettel and Charles Leclerc will be the team's line-up in 2020.

Bottas' Mercedes deal expires at the end of 2019, although the Silver Arrows do hold an option to renew it for the following season.

Two victories so far represent a good turnaround for the Finn, who failed to win a single race in 2018. However, he has shown signs of starting to fall off the pace of champion teammate Lewis Hamilton once again in recent weeks, despite finishing ahead in Austria thanks to wing damage on Hamilton's car.

Mercedes have Esteban Ocon in reserve and George Russell impressing against the odds at Williams were Bottas to go.

Ricciardo was reportedly under consideration by both Mercedes and Ferrari as he wound down his Red Bull deal last year, although neither made him a firm offer and he chose to join Renault instead.

His deal with the French team runs to 2020, although AutoAction's report repeats previously suggested claims that an offer from one of F1's major two teams will allow him to go.

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