It's confirmed, Sebastian Vettel to leave Ferrari at the end of 2020
The rumours have been put to rest, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari have confirmed that they will end their partnership at the end of 2020.
According to a full statement, Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and Vettel have jointly decided not to extend the current contract beyond its current expiry date of the end of the 2020 Formula 1 season.
This has thrown the race for the free Ferrari seat wide open and there's no word yet if the the 32-year-old four-time world champion will move to a different team or retire.
The German has been at the Italian F1 team since 2015 and was hoping to be the first Ferrrai F1 champion since Kimi Raikkonen victory in 2007. He won four titles with Red Bull in the early 2010s.
But Vettel has not had a great few years in Formula One. The 32-year-old four-time F1 World Champion has not only had a lacklustre 2019 season with only one race win to his name, he's also been out performed and how by his much younger 22-year-old teammate Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc has had a fairytale first season with the Italian team beating his older and much more experienced teammate not only in terms of wins, pole positions, points but also in a head-to-head battle in qualifying.
Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel said:
"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."
So who will replace Vettel at the prancing horse team?
Australian Daniel Ricciardo, at Renault, and McLaren’s Spaniard Carlos Sainz have both been mentioned in media reports as leading candidates to take one of the most coveted seats on the grid.
Leclerc signed a five-year contract with Ferrari at the end of 2019, confirming him as a part of the team until the end of 2024.
On Vettel's departure, Mattia Binotto, Managing Director Gestione Sportiva and 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.
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."