Sebastian Vettel said after it was revealed that he would leave Ferrari at the end of the Formula One 2020 season there was “no longer a collective urge to remain together.
Vettel won four straight world championships with Red Bull and was to join Ferrari in 2015, but Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has largely overshadowed the Austrian.
Charles Leclerc ‘s optimistic debut with Scuderia last year put more pressure on Vettel, who nevertheless outlined his intention to extend his stay beyond this year’s end.
On Monday evening, however, it was reported that the contract talks had broken down without settlement, and Ferrari announced early Tuesday morning that a partial agreement had been reached.
Vettel said on Ferrari’s website: “My partnership with Scuderia Ferrari will end in late 2020. Both parties need to function in total harmony to produce the best possible results in this sport. The team and I realized that there is no longer a mutual desire to remain together beyond the end of this season. Economic considerations have not played a role in this mutual decision. I don’t think so when it comes to making those decisions and it’s never going to be.”
“What’s been happening over the past few months has caused all of us to focus on what our real-life goals are. Someone needs to make use of one’s creativity and take a new approach to a changing situation. When it comes to my future, I will take the time I need to focus on what matters. My immediate target is to finish my long stint with Ferrari, hoping to share some more beautiful moments, to add to all those we’ve shared so far.”
Vettel finished third, fourth, second, and fifth in his five seasons with Ferrari, but his junior partner, Leclerc, was very outspoken last year.
The Monegasque has won more wins, points, and poles than its seasoned colleague in 2019, and is widely regarded as the franchise’s future.
Ferrari team leader Mattia Binotto said: “This is a joint decision on the part of ourselves and Sebastian, one that both parties believe is for the best.