Max Verstappen is predicting Carlos Sainz to beat out Daniel Ricciardo for the vacant Ferrari seat.
Ferrari announced last night that four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel would be leaving the team at the conclusion of the 2020 season after contract negotiations had broken down.
A number of candidates have been slated for the coveted seat, including Verstappen’s former team-mates – Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz.
Verstappen was speaking in an Instagram Q&A with former F1 driver David Coulthard before offering his thoughts on the announcement while also ruling himself out of contention.
“The speculation was going on a bit, is he going to continue with Ferrari or not – well today it’s out, he’s not. I guess also very soon we’ll find out who the replacement is going to be.
“It’s definitely not me, I can tell you. I’m at Red Bull. I saw some questions coming along if I was going to Ferrari, but I’m not.
“It is what it is. Somebody else gets an opportunity to drive now for Ferrari, and of course it’s a great team, and I’m sure they will make the right decision about the next driver. Let’s see what’s going to happen there.”
Sainz and Ricciardo have emerged as favourites for the seat, with Ricciardo’s future at Renault looking increasingly uncertain.
When Coulthard asked Verstappen whether the seat would go to a driver “with an Italian sounding name or someone with a Spanish sounding name”, the Dutchman said;
“I think it’s not going to be the Italian sounding name. Let’s see. At the end of the day, it’s just a guess. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Sainz is understood to be one of the favourites for the seat, alongside Ricciardo. Other potential candidates include Antonio Giovinazzi, with the Scuderia’s junior drivers – consisting of Robert Shwartzman, Marcus Armstrong, and Mick Schumacher – considered to be an outside chance.