The Ferrari team and the German Sebastian Vettel have jointly decided not to extend the contract that unites them both beyond their expiration date, at the end of the 2020 Formula 1 season.
“My relationship with the Scuderia Ferrari will end at the end of 2020. To obtain the best possible results in this sport, it is vital that all parties work in perfect harmony. The team and I have realized that there is no longer a common desire to stay together Beyond the end of this season and financial affairs have played no role in this joint decision. I don’t think it’s the way to make certain decisions and it never will be, ”explained the four-time champion of the competition about his decision.
“I will take the time to reflect on what really matters when it comes to my future. ”, said the former Red Bull pilot, who recognized that the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic led him to reflect “on what our priorities are in life.”
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Rumors of a possible departure of the German runner appeared regularly for several weeks and those speculations pointed to a disagreement about the duration of the contract, because Ferrari would only propose a one-year extension, with a strongly reduced salary. However, Vettel said on Tuesday that “financial reasons have played no role in this decision.”
“Sebastian is already part of the history of the Scuderia, with his 14 Grand Prix wins, which makes him the team’s third most successful driver, while also the one who has accumulated the most points with us, “Ferrari director Mattia Binotto reported in an official statement.
“We still haven’t managed to win a world title together, what would be the fifth for him, but we think we can still get a lot out of this unusual 2020 season ″.
After arriving in 2015 to succeed Spanish Fernando Alonso, Vettel has so far failed to bring a new world champion title to the legendary Italian team., who has been losing ground with the six consecutive championships, and which may be seven with this one, from Mercedes (five from Hamilton and one from Nico Rosberg). Kimi Räikkonen was the last to give a trophy to Rampant Cavalino in 2007.
Despite being one of the most renowned drivers on the grid, Vettel suffered the irruption of his young Monegasque companion Charles Leclerc last year. The 22-year-old stole the limelight and established himself as the dominant driver at Ferrari, where he achieved two victories last season against one of Vettel, allowing himself to be ahead in the World Cup classification. Leclerc was fourth in the championship, while Vettel finished fifth, his worst result since his arrival at Ferrari.
The Montecarlo native extended his contract with Ferrari in December until 2024, showing that is chosen by the Maranello team as a long-term driver ahead of Vettel.
“I never learned as much as I learned from you as my teammate. Thanks for everything Seb ”, said the young talent in a statement that he made public on his social networks. “It has been a great honor for me to be your teammate. We’ve had some tense moments on the slopes. Some very good and others that did not end as we both wanted, but there was always respect, even though it was not perceived in this way from the outside, “he added.
Leclerc’s talent and the German’s experience made it controversial last season, where it transpired that there was a kind of “internal war” within the team between both and an unusual clash between the two cars at the Brazilian Grand Prix Rumors about a relationship marked by egos increased.
Among the pilots that are shuffled to replace Vettel became six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, than ends contract with Mercedes at end of season.
However, after flirting with the idea, he finally the Briton has hinted that he will continue in the German team, with which he has won five of his six world titles (2014, 2015. 2017, 2018, 2019).
Australian names have also appeared Daniel Ricciardo, currently at Renault, from Spanish Carlos Sainz (McLaren) or Italian Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa-Romeo).