Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto said that it would be a huge loss for the Formula 1 family if Sebastian Vettel walked away from the sport at the end of the current season.
Causing a stir in the coronavirus-induced shutdown, Ferrari announced on May 12 that its quadruple world champion driver Sebastian Vettel would leave the fabled Italian outfit at the end of the 2020 season. The Maranello-based team revealed two days after the shocking announcement that the German’s seat will be occupied by Carlos Sainz in 2021.
Vettel joined Ferrari for the 2015 F1 season with many believing that the talented and successful German can open a new chapter in the history of Formula One’s most successful squad. However, the partnership has not delivered on the promise in the last five seasons despite different periods of successes. Vettel was in the hunt for the championship title both in 2017 and 2018, but his way for the championship crown derailed on both occasions.
After Ferrari announced Vettel’s departure from Maranello, rumours began to fly that the team fired the German. In an interview with Marca, Mattia Binotto has revealed that the Heppenheim-born was Ferrari’s first option, but the recent changes to the global situation meant that the two parties were unable to find a common denominator.
“Without a doubt, for many reasons. Ferrari loves Sebastian as a driver and as a person, he is part of our team, our project, so it is never an easy decision."
"Seb was our first option and then the COVID-19 arrived, a situation that has changed many things, from the regulation to the budget ceiling, things that have changed the vision of the situation, looking ahead as with the new car, postponed to 2022. Internal reviews had to be done, difficult, and that's what we did.”
“[It] is not true [Vettel left because of a short-term deal]. It is simply that things have changed and we are looking at a new cycle, and it seems that this vision, in terms of timing, did not coincide with his vision. It was not because of the type of offer or its duration.”
With Vettel’s future in F1 still uncertain and only a couple of seats at top teams remaining available, it is believed that Vettel could hang up his F1 helmet at the end of 2020. The Swiss-Italian has revealed that the exit of Vettel would be a loss for Formula One.
“It would be a loss [if he retired], because we love and appreciate him, and it would be important for him to find a good seat next year. I hear rumours that you can find him in Mercedes and I would be very happy for him, I really would be,” he concluded.