Sebastian Vettel Confirms He Will Leave Ferrari At The End of 2020
Back in mid-April Sebastian Vettel declared he was committed to re-signing with Ferrari for the long-term. Today, as of March 12, 2020, Vettel has confirmed he is to leave Ferrari at the end of the current Formula One season. This has been unavoidable for some weeks. If you join an F1 team, inevitably, at some point you will leave. Vettel has deciphered the signals coming from Ferrari and finally acted decisively by ending contract talks. Speaking of his decision Vettel said:
“there was no longer a common desire to work together. 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.”
It has been obvious for some time that Ferrari was no longer keen on re-signing Vettel. Team-mate Charles Leclerc out-performed Vettel in his first year. Ferrari offered Leclerc a multi-year contract in December of 2019. However, contract talks with Sebastian Vettel lingered, a classic sign that Ferrari had already made a decision about Vettel’s future.
Ferrari allowed contract talks to resume, but in their minds, Vettel’s stock had fallen. Vettel has made mistakes at crucial championship moments in his battles against Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. The arrival of Charles Leclerc was the final strategy play by Ferrari to move Vettel out of the team.
A younger less experienced team-mate outperforming an experienced multi-race winning 4-times champion gave Ferrari considerable bargaining power. Ferrari claimed to be interested in keeping Vettel but the contractual terms were deliberately derisory. From Vettel’s point of view, the reduced terms offered by Ferrari must have been deeply insulting.
Vettel has made the correct decision by seeking to end contract talks. His options now are either Renault or McLaren. To be honest they are not great options. McLaren has been navel-gazing for years, living off past glories. And Renault has neither the chassis nor the engine package to match Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull at the moment.