Due to Sebastian Vettel's contract expiring at the end of 2020, Ferrari are looking to find a replacement for the German whizz, and might've already found three runners-up.
With rumours flying wildly, Lewis Hamilton has categorically denied that there is any possibility of him leaving Mercedes to join Ferrari. However, with Vettel yet to sign a one-year extension on his contract with the Italian F1 team, they might need to act quickly to secure a good enough replacement.
It's been suggested that negotiations between Vettel's team and Ferrari have stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but with numerous big-name drivers out of contract at the end of this year, the race will soon move from the track to the job market.
Over the past few years, Ferrari have struggled to engineer a car capable of confidently competing against Mercedes at the very top of the table, but some wild speculation had suggested that Hamilton was potentially leaving Mercedes to join the Italian reds, which would've definitely shaken up the grid.
However, the British star has removed himself from these rumours, stating on Monday in a now deleted social media post that he is already with his "dream team."
Reports are suggesting that Ferrari are prepared to stick with Vettel for another season, but only if he accepts a one-year deal on a much lower salary than previous years.
It's said that Vettel is holding out for a two-year contract and doesn't want to move very far away from his current £36m-a-year racing income.
Ferrari are supposedly looking to get Vettel down to a similar number to his colleague Charles Leclerc, which would see the German earning around £9m-a-year. According to Italian outlet La Gazetta dello Sport, as per the Express, Ferrari aren't prepared to go any higher than £11m-a-year on Vettel's new contract.
Should Vettel decide to refuse these terms, Ferrari have also started looking for possible replacements to fill the driving seat.
It's being reported that Ferrari have listed Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz and Antonio Giovinazzi as three possible candidates to step into Vettel's position, should the deal fall through.
In his debut with French team Renault, Ricciardo failed to perform as well as he had hoped, but he has said that he wants to settle in with Renault for a bit longer.
Speaking back in February, Ricciardo explained: "I don't want it to feel like I've just come to Renault, got away from Red Bull and then I'm looking for the next best thing [somewhere else].
"I really want to make this happen and make it work, and obviously the step to that is getting more out of this year than we did last year, and hopefully getting enough out of it that the journey continues beyond my two-year contract.
"That's the, let's say, ideal scenario. To talk about other what-ifs and the future here and there, it's still too early, and... you don't want to rock the boat obviously as well, but... we haven't even started this year so to already start thinking about '21... I can't think about it now."
Due to the current pandemic, the 2020 F1 season is suspended until July at the earliest, so it's unclear how the end of the season will pan out. Hopefully Ferrari can find an answer to their problems sooner rather than later.
- Hamilton's deleted post about Mercedes future
- No fans or media part of F1's plans to start season
- French Grand Prix likely to be cancelled