Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2020 Formula 1 season, it has been confirmed.
Vettel, the four-time world champion, had been in contract talks with Ferrari over the past few weeks, but discussions have broken down and the decision has been made from both parties to separate at the end of the year.
“Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and Sebastian Vettel have jointly decided not to extend the current contract covering Sebastian’s services as a driver with the team, beyond its current expiry date of the end of the 2020 Formula 1 season,” read a Ferrari statement on Tuesday morning.
The 32-year-old German joined Ferrari in 2015 having won four consecutive world championships between 2010 and 2013 with Red Bull.
However, he’s failed to win the title while with the Prancing Horse, finishing second on two occasions and third once.
In 2019 Vettel ended the season in fifth, behind teammate Charles Leclerc, after a tough year for the German as he was usurped by the young Monegasque with a number of flashpoints between the pair throughout the campaign – including a collision in Brazil.
Mattia Binotto, the Ferrari team principal, said: “This is a decision taken jointly by ourselves and Sebastian, one which both parties feel is for the best. It was not an easy decision to reach, given Sebastian’s worth as a driver and as a person. There was no specific reason that led to this decision, apart from the common and amicable belief that the time had come to go our separate ways in order to reach our respective objectives.
“Sebastian is already part of the Scuderia’s history, with his 14 Grands Prix wins making him the third most successful driver for the team, while he is also the one who has scored the most points with us. In our five years together, he has finished in the top three of the Drivers’ Championship three times, making a significant contribution to the team’s constant presence in the top three of the Constructors’ classification.
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“On behalf of everyone at Ferrari, I want to thank Sebastian for his great professionalism and the human qualities he has displayed over these five years, during which we shared so many great moments. We have not yet managed to win a world title together, which would be a fifth for him, but we believe that we can still get a lot out of this unusual 2020 season.”
Vettel himself added: “My relationship with Scuderia Ferrari will finish at the end of 2020. In order to get the best possible results in this sport, it’s vital for all parties to work in perfect harmony. The team and I have realised that there is no longer a common desire to stay together beyond the end of this season. Financial matters have played no part in this joint decision. That’s not the way I think when it comes to making certain choices and it never will be.
“What’s been happening in these past few months has led many of us to reflect on what are our real priorities in life. One needs to use one’s imagination and to adopt a new approach to a situation that has changed. I myself will take the time I need to reflect on what really matters when it comes to my future.
“Scuderia Ferrari occupies a special place in Formula 1 and I hope it gets all the success it deserves. Finally, I want to thank the whole Ferrari family and above all its ‘tifosi’ all around the world, for the support they have given me over the years. My immediate goal is to finish my long stint with Ferrari, in the hope of sharing some more beautiful moments together, to add to all those we have enjoyed so far.”
The decision to leave Ferrari throws Vettel’s future into doubt.
He could end up at McLaren if Ferrari opt to hire Carlos Sainz to replace the German, but neither Mercedes nor Red Bull are said to be interested in Vettel.
As well as Sainz, Ferrari’s other options to replace Vettel include Daniel Ricciardo, the Renault driver, or Antonio Giovinazzi, who currently races for Alfa Romeo.
Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport