F1: Sebastian Vettel and Scuderia Ferrari to part ways at the end of 2020
After German websites reported that an announcement was expected of Sebastian Vettel's departure from Ferrari at the end of the 2020 season, official confirmation has finally come through. Ferrari has officially announced that Vettel will leave the team at the end of the year. This will bring an end to a six-year association between Ferrari and Vettel, who have been together since 2015 season.
Sebastian Vettel and Scuderia Ferrari will part ways after the 2020 season
Vettel moved to Ferrari at the end of the 2014 season, after winning four world championship titles with the Red Bull Racing outfit. The German driver and Ferrari had hoped to return to championship winning ways, but the Mercedes-Lewis Hamilton combination (and Mercedes-Nico Rosberg combination one year) proved to be far too strong for them to beat.
Speaking of his decision to leave Ferrari, Vettel stated, "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."
Vettel and Ferrari have scored 14 GP wins together, which makes him the third-most successful driver at the team
It remains unclear whether Vettel will move to another team in Formula 1 (Renault or McLaren could be options), or will turn his back on the sport. "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 said.
In the meanwhile though, Vettel has committed to doing his best for the Scuderia during whatever remains of the 2020 season. "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," he said.
Meanwhile, Team Principal of Ferrari, Mattia Binotto, said that the decision to part ways was mutual. "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," he said.
"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," he continued.
Vettel's replacement at Ferrari still remains unknown. While Lewis Hamilton has been linked to the seat, the six-time world champion has insisted that he doesn't plan on leaving Mercedes. Other drivers linked to the spare seat at Ferrari include Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo and Antonio Giovinazzi.
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