Sebastian Vettel, the 4 time world champion currently driving for Scuderia Ferrari has been in negotiation about a new contract with the team for the past few weeks. His current contract ends with the end of 2020, after 5 years since joining the team in 2015. His team partner Charles Leclerc, who joined Scuderia Ferrari in 2019 has signed a long-term contract extension securing him a place in the team from Maranello till the end of 2024.
In an interview with motorsport.com, Vettel has said that money is not the most important factor in the contract discussions.
As he said: “It depends what's important to you, what drives you. And that's fair. If money is your motivator then it can drive you very far, and make you very successful. There's a lot of sportsmen, businessmen that thrive for money. I think the question really is whether people have a sense of enough. That's not just valid for Formula 1.”
He added: “We are putting our life in a way also on the line, then you need to show some appreciation for that. Our careers also are shorter than some other careers. I think the really important thing is that you are happy, that’s the key. Obviously, F1 is a bit of a circus and spoiled circus. Because they have a lot of money involved and money tends to spoil people. I think on average that's true. But the question is, like I said, if you have a sense of enough”.
Sebastian Vettel joined F1 in 2007, debuting in the 2007 US GP replacing then injured Robert Kubica. In the 13 years in the sport Vettel obtained 4 world championships with Red Bull Racing, before moving to Scuderia Ferrari. The driver, this year turning 33, does not rule out possibility of other racing categories after finishing his F1 career.
As he said: ”I think I'm in a very fortunate position that I can probably try and do a lot of things, once I have decided to stop racing in F1. Maybe race something else, maybe do something different in motorsport or do something completely different outside. I have some ideas, but I haven't decided. I'm quite relaxed.”
During the Barcelona pre-season testing, Mattia Binotto expressed that having Vettel on the team is his first priority. As he said back then: "I already mentioned it: Seb is our first option. I think as I always mentioned, that's a great line-up, probably the best we have in F1, of which I'm very happy and very proud to have as Ferrari. We are really starting an early discussion with Seb. We all are aware the contract is finishing, but it will come very soon to close the discussion and see what's in the best interest of both of us.”
He added: "I think what's more a matter is the project which we are sharing, even our longer term view, so we will come very soon I am sure to an agreement.”
We can expect more information in the upcoming weeks. It is important to acknowledge that the current turbulences within the F1 environment (due to the COVID-19 outbreak and not clear situation about the near future of the sport) might have an impact on the drivers market in the near future.