Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto says Sebastian Vettel’s future is in his own hands, believing the German to be freshly motivated after being “surprised” by Charles Leclerc’s ability in 2019.
Vettel led Ferrari’s challenge from 2015 through 2018 but trailed new team-mate Leclerc in 2019, with the youngster signing a new contract last December that runs until 2024.
Vettel, meanwhile, is out of contract at the end of 2020.
But Binotto is optimistic that Ferrari and Vettel can renew terms for 2021 and beyond, reckoning the four-time World Champion has the ability to bounce back from an eye-opening 2019.
“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.
“He’s in a very good shape. 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.”
The 2020 Formula 1 season is not set to begin until June, at the earliest, after May’s trio of planned events in the Netherlands, Barcelona and Monaco were postponed or cancelled.