Sebastian Vettel, the four-time Formula One winner, will leave Ferrari at the end of the season – whenever that takes place – ending a 5-year association with the Italian team which made the announcement on Tuesday. Ferrari are yet to name a replacement for Vettel.
Vettel and Ferrari have been in talks for several months about an extension, with Team Principal Mattia Binotto saying the four-time world champion was his number one choice to race alongside Charles Leclerc next year.
However, they have been unable to agree terms on a new deal, leading to today’s announcement.
“My relationship with Scuderia Ferrari will finish at the end of 2020,” said Vettel. “In order to get the best possible results in this sport, it’s vital for all parties to work in perfect harmony.
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 12, 2020
“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.”
Vettel joined Ferrari in 2015, stepping into Fernando Alonso’s cockpit, with the sole aim of bringing world championship success back to the Scuderia.
However, while Ferrari at times gave him a car to challenge at the top, they were never able to mount a serious, consistent challenge to world champions Mercedes.
Charles Leclerc joined the team last year and immediately put the pressure on and ultimately came out on top, in terms of championship position, wins and poles, raising questions about Vettel’s position and future at the team.
Ultimately, Vettel and Ferrari couldn’t agree a way forward, making this season – when it eventually gets under way – the German’s last with Ferrari.