Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel have issued a statement confirming the end of their partnership after six seasons together.
After speculation on Monday that a bombshell announcement was about to be issued from Maranello, Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel issued a statement on Tuesday morning confirming that they will part ways at the end of 2020.
With Vettel’s contract coming to a close at the end of 2020, there have been negotiations regarding an extension in recent months. These negotiations have failed.
As a result, Vettel is now a free agent for 2021 while Ferrari have a second seat to fill alongside long-term signing Charles Leclerc.
“This is a decision taken jointly by ourselves and Sebastian, one which both parties feel is for the best.” said Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto.
“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.”
Vettel went to Ferrari with the intent of leading the team to more titles after winning four with Red Bull Racing at the start of the last decade. However, his move came just after the beginning of the hybrid era – an era that Mercedes have utterly dominated so far. While Ferrari have had strong patches over the seasons since, inconsistency from both the car’s performance and his own means that Vettel leaves the team without achieving his goal of emulating compatriot Michael Schumacher’s success.
“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.” continued Binotto. “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.”
“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.” concluded Binotto.
Vettel hasn’t confirmed what he wants to do in 2021, as he now evaluates whether to take a seat elsewhere or possibly sit out the season. He remains an attractive proposition for any team but, with a growing young family, Vettel could decide that not racing with a top team isn’t all that appealing.
“My relationship with Scuderia Ferrari will finish at the end of 2020.” said Vettel in his statement. “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.”
Vettel hinted that his presence at home since the coronavirus outbreak may have had some sway on his decision: “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.”
With an uncertain future, Vettel thanked Ferrari for his six years in red – six years that can certainly never be called boring: “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.”