Sebastian Vettel has revealed at Spielberg ahead of the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix that he had been left shocked when Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto informed him about the team’s decision to end their partnership at the end of 2020.
Scuderia Ferrari caused a stir during the relatively calm coronavirus-induced shutdown period at the beginning of May when it announced Sebastian Vettel’s departure from the Maranello-based team. After joining the fabled Italian team in 2015 with a three-year contract, the German extended his original contract that will expire at the end of 2020.
Ferrari extended the contract of Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc last December and it was believed that Formula One’s most successful team would offer the German a third contract extension. Instead of continuing with the four-time world champion, Ferrari announced that it signed Carlos Sainz for the 2021 season.
Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto indicated that the coronavirus-induced situation meant the two parties did not share common goals anymore. However, speaking to German TV station, RTL at Spielberg, the quadruple world champion has revealed that he was as much shocked as anyone else when he got a phone call from Binotto.
"In the last months it was very clear that we wanted to continue together. It was a shock, I was surprised. At the beginning of May, I had a phone call, in which it became clear that the team didn't want to continue with me and so the topic was finished."
During Thursday’s FIA press conference, the Heppenheim-born driver said that he was never offered a deal by Ferrari. “There was no sticking point. It was obviously a surprise to me when I got the call from Mattia, when he told me that there was no further intention from the team to continue.
“We never got into any discussions, there was never an offer on the table and therefore, there was no sticking point.”
Vettel has revealed that he is not in talks with other teams at the moment, but he is still hungry for more success in Formula One, the sport which he utterly dominated for four years.
“I think I have a very competitive nature. I've achieved a lot in the sport and I'm motivated and willing to achieve more. To do so, I think, I need the right package, and the right people around me. So that's what I'm looking out for at the moment. If the right opportunity should arise, then I think it is quite clear. If that's not the case, then I probably have to look out for something else,” he concluded.