Formula 1 is a sport where things can turn very quickly. If nothing is signed or an official is not made, then consider everything to be up in the air.
At the moment, one of the most uncertain things in the sport is the contract negotiations between Sebastian Vettel and the Ferrari F1 team. Vettel, who is out of contract at the end of 2020, has been offered a one-year deal by the team, as well as a massive pay cut.
According to reports, Vettel is not in favour of the offer and was given until the end of April to either accept or decline. If he declines or the two parties fail to reach an agreement, Vettel could either quit the sport or find another team.
Regardless, a seat will open up at Ferrari. Though we've already covered the likely options to fill the slot, two unlikely drivers could also have a say.
Which driver would you like to see partner Charles Leclerc at Ferrari in 2021? Why? Email us.
Sebastian Vettel could be on his way out of F1 at the end of the year. Image: TeamTalk
Alonso has been quite vocal about returning to F1 in 2021 but has repeatedly stated that he will only do so with a competitive team. A few months ago, things weren't looking up for the Spaniard, as the top teams (Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull) made it clear that their driver line-ups are fixed for next year.
McLaren also denounced Alonso and inviting him back into the fold. But suddenly, an opportunity with Ferrari presented itself, and Alonso might return to Ferrari - even if it means taking a pay cut.
Alonso has been with Ferrari from 2010 to 2014, but, like Vettel, failed to win the drivers' championship. He came very close in 2010 and 2012, however. Alonso is used to having team setups revolve around him, which could cause a riff at Ferrari, given that Charles Leclerc is, essentially, the number one driver.
Still, stranger things have happened in F1, so Alonso returning to both the sport and Ferrari should not be ruled out.
Fernando Alonso. Image: Getty Images
Of all the drivers mentioned, including those in the first article, Hulkenberg might be the ideal choice. Just here us out.
From a financial point of view, Hulkenberg would cost the team less than $5.0-million a year, given that he earned $4.5-million in 2019. And with him not being competitive in 2020, Ferrari could use this to their advantage. The Hulk may also be the driver with the unfortunate record of participating in the most races without a podium finish or race win, but that can be down to his cars never being very competitive.
In his earlier years, Hulkenberg was linked with a move to Ferrari, but technical regulations at the time prevented it from happening.
Hulkenberg had peace when he left F1 at the end of 2019, which could maybe have an impact on his mindset during races. He runs the risk of having foregone that driver's instinct of wanting to win. If he is signed, his main purpose would be to support Leclerc in the championship fight. Like Valtteri Bottas does with Lewis Hamilton.
Hulkenberg might not be the first choice, but he's a driver who will always race for the good of the team. And if Ferrari wants to avoid internal conflict with its drivers, they should look at him.
Nico Hulkenberg. Image: Getty Images