Sebastian Vettel to leave Ferrari after 2020 Formula One season
Four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the season after failing to agree a new deal, team principal Mattia Binotto has confirmed.
Binotto reported the parting had been mutual, saying the decision had not been 'easy to reach, given Sebastian's worth as a driver and as a person', but agreed ‘the time had come to go our separate ways in order to reach our respective objectives’.
32-year-old Vettel added that there was ‘no longer a common desire’ to work together.
“In order to get the best possible results in this sport, it's vital for all parties to work in perfect harmony,” he added.
He reassured fans that the parting of the ways was not due to disagreements over pay saying: "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."
Vettel has not won a World Championship with the Italian manufacturer, having claimed all four of his titles with Red Bull before joining the team in the hope of following in the footsteps of his idol, Michael Schumacher.
No announcements have yet been made as to whether he will look to sign a new deal with another driver for the 2021 season.
In 2019 he only managed a fifth place finish, with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton topping the table for the sixth time.
Hamilton was rumoured to be an option to replace Vettel alongside Ferrari's other driver, Charles Leclerc, but he has denied this and pledged his continued allegiance to Mercedes.
Other names in the frame include Australia's Daniel Ricciardo and Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who are out of contract at Renault and McLaren respectively in 2020.
Leclerc described it as ‘a huge honour’ to have raced alongside the German.
He continued: "We've had some tense moments on tracks.
"Some very good ones and some others that didn't end as we both wanted, but there was always respect, even though it wasn't perceived this way from the outside.
"I've never learnt so much as I did with you as my team-mate. Thank you for everything Seb," he finished.
Formula One organisers are hopeful the sport can resume behind closed doors in Austria in July after the first ten races of the season were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and government rulings against large public gatherings.