Scuderia Ferrari announced today a parting of ways with four-time F1 World Champion, Sebastian Vettel. Both parties jointly decided not to extend his contract beyond its current expiry date of the end of the 2020 Formula 1 season.
Managing Director and Team Principal, Mattia Binotto 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. We believe that we can still get a lot out of this unusual 2020 season.’
While not managing to win a world title together, Sebastian has secured 14 Grands Prix wins for Ferrari, making him the third most successful driver ever for the team. In five years he has finished in the top three of the Drivers’ Championship three times, making a significant contribution to the team’s presence in the Constructors’ classification.
Sebastian Vettel had this to say about the split, ‘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. 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 stint with Ferrari, in the hope of sharing some more beautiful moments together, to add to all those we have enjoyed so far.’
Speculation abounds as to the quadruple world champion’s next move and the ricochet effect it will trigger in the F1 drivers market. According to several authoritative media sources, Germany’s Auto Bild and Auto Motor und Sport among them; who were the first to reveal that the quadruple world champion and Ferrari have not been able to agree on a contract extension, the 32-year-old German has received offers for 2021 from McLaren and Renault.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo have been linked with Vettel’s disposed seat at Ferrari alongside Charles Leclerc. Former F1 driver Marc Surer says Australian Ricciardo, ‘Knows how to win races’, but he isn’t sure the financial offer from Ferrari will be enough. For the first time in his career, Daniel is paid very well, and you don’t want to give that up so easily,’ he said to SpeedWeek . Likewise, reports that Lewis Hamilton could be a candidate for the seat are believed to be wide of the mark.