Ferrari has confirmed it has not reached an agreement with Sebastian Vettel over a new contract and that the four-time world champion will leave the team at the end of 2020.
Vettel’s future has been the center of speculation for a number of months following a new long-term deal for Charles Leclerc and rumored links between Lewis Hamilton and a move to Maranello. Both Vettel and Ferrari said it was likely a decision would be made before any racing took place this season, and team principal Mattia Binotto had previously described Vettel as the team’s first choice.
However, Ferrari has now officially confirmed that Vettel will not be staying beyond the end of his current contract, saying that the team and driver “jointly decided” against an extension.
“This is a decision taken jointly by ourselves and Sebastian, one which both parties feel is for the best,” Binotto said. “It was not an easy decision to reach, given Sebastian’s worth as a driver and as a person. There was no specific reason that led to this decision, apart from the common and amicable belief that the time had come to go our separate ways in order to reach our respective objectives.
“Sebastian is already part of the Scuderia’s history, with his 14 grands prix wins making him the third most successful driver for the team, while he is also the one who has scored the most points with us. In our five years together, he has finished in the top three of the Drivers’ Championship three times, making a significant contribution to the team’s constant presence in the top three of the Constructors’ classification.
“On behalf of everyone at Ferrari, I want to thank Sebastian for his great professionalism and the human qualities he has displayed over these five years, during which we shared so many great moments. We have not yet managed to win a world title together, which would be a fifth for him, but we believe that we can still get a lot out of this unusual 2020 season.”
The 32-year-old is third on the list of all-time grand prix winners, with his 53 victories leaving him behind only Michael Schumacher (91) and Lewis Hamilton (84).