Binotto still admires Vettel, but wants a new cycle at Ferrari

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Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto said that he still “admires” Sebastian Vettel, but they have found out after discussions about a contract extension that they do not share the same goals anymore.

Ferrari has caused a stir on Tuesday when it announced the departure of Sebastian Vettel from the Italian team. After spending five years with the Scuderia, the German driver will end his career with the Maranello-based squad at the end of this curtailed 2020 season. His first three-year contract started in 2015 which was then extended by another three years in 2017.

Of 102 races with Ferrari, the Heppenheim-born driver has won 14 grands prix, scored 12 pole positions and secured 54 podium finishes. In his first year with the Scuderia, he secured the third place in the Drivers’ Championship, followed by a fourth place in the next season that was defined by the less competitive SF15-T.

In 2017 and 2018, Vettel was on the hunt for the title, but team mistakes, unreliability and misfortune deprived the quadruple champion of the big successes. Last year, Vettel was partnered by the then 21-year-old Charles Leclerc. While Ferrari’s 2019 car, the SF90 was less competitive at the start of the season, Vettel could also not find out how to set up his car that did not produce the necessary amount of rear downforce. In the end, the 32-year-old ended the year fifth, right behind his Monegasque team-mate.

Speaking at the Motor Valley Fest in Modena on Thursday, Mattia Binotto has revealed that the early talks about a possible contract extension ended after both parties had found out that they did not share common goals anymore.

"We closed a cycle with Sebastian. Sebastian has been working in our team for six years. I admire Sebastian, I admire him as a person and as a professional pilot. I hold him in great esteem. Beyond that, over the last weeks, the world has changed, not only from an economic point of view, but also from a technical and sporting point of view.”

"There are challenges ahead, and obstacles which are going to be difficult. We are laying the foundations for our future, and we want to have a specific perspective. We talked with Sebastian, and we found out we didn't share the same goals, short or long term goals."

The Swiss-Italian indicated that he expects Ferrari to open up a new chapter in its history book by signing two young drivers. Charles Leclerc, aged 22 and Carlos Sainz, aged 25 will form the youngest driver line-up in the past fifty years of the Scuderia. Binotto thinks that Sainz has shown in his five-year F1 career that he has all the key ingredients that are necessary to become a world champion.

„With five seasons already behind him, Carlos has proved to be very talented and has shown that he has the technical ability and the right attributes to make him an ideal fit with our family.”

“We’ve embarked on a new cycle with the aim of getting back to the top in Formula 1. It will be a long journey, not without its difficulties, especially given the current financial and regulatory situation, which is undergoing a sudden change and will require this challenge to be tackled in a different way to the recent past," he concluded.