The rumors came out as a thunder yesterday late in the evening, but the rumors are then definitely true: after a long negotiation Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari are parting ways at the end of 2020.
As the season has not even started yet, the German has decided to leave the Italian team, and look forward to 2021.
Sources suggests the German was looking for a two year deal, while Ferrari only offered him a one year deal with a reduced salary, probably with a “supporting role” for Charles Leclerc.
"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." Said Mattia Binotto, Team Principal, in Ferrari's official statement.
"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."
Despite the end of the relationship, there's still a season to race together, as Vettel recalls.
"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." Said Sebastian Vettel.
-2What’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."
Sebastian Vettel started his career in BMW Sauber back in 2007, to switch then to Toro Rosso to conquer his first career victory in Monza 2008. From 2009 to 2014 Vettel wears the Red Bull suit, conquering four straight world championship, from 2010 to 2013. In 2015, he signs for Scuderia Ferrari, with the dream to emulate Michael Schumacher and repeat his hero’s gestures and bring back the championship in Maranello. Despite some attempts, the German failed to deliver and win his fifth world title, and now the marriage between Sebastian and the Prancing Horse is now over.
In 6 years with Ferrari Sebastian earned 54 podium finishes, 14 wins, the last one in Singapore, 2019, and 12 Pole Position. Numbers that will may grow during the remaining races the German will race as a Ferrari driver.
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It is still unclear what the future will hold for the German world champion and who will replace him in the garage next to Charles Leclerc. Two names above all: Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz.
Both born in the Red Bull family, the Australian is currently signed with Renault until the end of this year, as he struggled, in 2019, to deliver big results with the Enstone team; on the other side, Carlos Sainz conquered his first podium, but also build a big reputation for his name since the start of his journey with McLaren in 2019.
Both excellent contenders for the seat, one seems unhappy in the yellow car, while the other seems pretty much happy at Woking, also considering that McLaren will have Mercedes engine from 2021 onwards.