Sebastian Vettel says he will take time to reflect on his future in Formula 1 and insists that his departure from Ferrari has nothing to do with money.
The four-time world champion will leave Ferrari at the end of 2020 after the team announced a joint decision not to extend his contract. German media reports had suggested Vettel was only offered a short-term deal on greatly reduced money after Charles Leclerc’s signed a major contract in December, but Vettel says that was not a factor.
“My relationship with Scuderia Ferrari will finish at the end of 2020,” Vettel said. “In order to get the best possible results in this sport, it’s vital for all parties to work in perfect harmony. The team and I have realized that there is no longer a common desire to stay together beyond the end of this season. 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.”
Vettel will be 33 at the end of the year and has a young family, who he has been spending much more time with as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. He said that he has been thinking about what he finds important during this period, and will not rush into any decision regarding his future in F1.
“What’s been happening in these past few months has led many of us to reflect on what are our real priorities in life,” he said. “One needs to use one’s imagination and to adopt a new approach to a situation that has changed. I myself will take the time I need to reflect on what really matters when it comes to my future.
“Scuderia Ferrari occupies a special place in Formula 1 and I hope it gets all the success it deserves. Finally, I want to thank the whole Ferrari family and above all its tifosi all around the world, for the support they have given me over the years. My immediate goal is to finish my long stint with Ferrari, in the hope of sharing some more beautiful moments together, to add to all those we have enjoyed so far.”
Vettel’s departure leaves one of the most coveted seats in F1 vacant, and the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas are all race winners who are out of contract at the end of the season.