Vettel Ferrari’s first choice, not Hamilton: Team manager Binotto - GulfToday

Vettel Ferrari’s first choice, not Hamilton: Team manager Binotto

Motorsport

Ferrari Executive Chairman, John Elkann (centre) deliver a speech as Sebastian Vettel (second right) and Charles Leclerc look on during the unveiling ceremony of the new Ferrari Formula One SF1000 in Reggio Emilia on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse

Ferrari team manager Mattia Binotto insisted on Tuesday that Sebastian Vettel remained the team’s “first choice” for the future despite reports that Lewis Hamilton could join the Italian stable next season.

“Seb is our first choice, our preference,” Binotto said during the presentation of the team’s new SF1000 car for the 2020 season at Reggio Emilia in northern Italy.

Vettel, 32, joined Ferrari in 2015 and the German’s contract ends at the end of the coming season, as does world champion Hamilton’s at Mercedes.

“We’re focused on our drivers. We’re not thinking about it for the moment,” added Binotto.

“We’re talking with Seb and we’ll take the time needed. We are focused on the car and the tests. There will be a time for the rest.”

“I think it’s good to live in the present moment and the present moment is what’s behind us,” said Vettel, pointing to the new car Ferrari. “We will have time,” he added.

Ferrari’s second driver Charles Leclerc extended his contract with the Scuderia this winter until 2024.

Hamilton is preparing to launch his bid to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven drivers’ championship titles after cruising to a six title last campaign.

Meanwhile, Ferrari unveiled its new SF1000 car for the 2020 Formula One season, which they hope will deliver a first world drivers title since 2007, during a glitzy ceremony on Tuesday.

The single-seater’s name acknowledges the fact that the Italian team will start its 1,000th world championship race during the coming campaign, which begins with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 15.

Narrower than last season’s SF90, with a deeper red colouring the body, Ferrari is pinning its hopes on the SF1000 car earning them drivers and constructors titles that have eluded them for 12 and 11 years respectively.

“I like it very much,” said German driver Vettel.

“It’s much narrower at the back than last year and it is also redder, it’s even better. I’m impatient to drive it, that will be even more fascinating than looking at it.”

The Scuderia broke with tradition and presented its new racing car outside of its stronghold of Maranello, unveiling it instead amid of sea of red on stage at the Teatro Romolo-Valli in the nearby city of Reggio Emilia.

“This is a very important place for our country,” chairman of the Ferrari group John Elkann explained.

Agencies

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