Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel no longer shared the same short- or long-term goals, according to team principal Mattia Binotto.
It was announced on Tuesday that Vettel will leave Ferrari when his contract expires at the end of this season, and 48 hours later Carlos Sainz was confirmed as his replacement. Binotto says Ferrari’s future has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and impending lower budget cap in 2021, and that the team and Vettel were no longer aligned.
“When taking these decisions it’s because we are convinced we made the right decision and we are pretty happy,” Binotto said during a panel appearance at Motor Valley Fest Digital in Italy. “We close a cycle with Sebastian. It’s been six years since Sebastian has been working in our team — I admire Sebastian, I admire him as a person and as a professional driver, I hold him in great esteem.
“Beyond that over the last weeks the world has changed, not only from an economic point of view but also from a technical and sport point of view. There are challenges and obstacles that are going to be difficult. We are laying the foundations for our future. And we want to have a specific perspective.
“We discussed with Sebastian and we found out we didn’t share the same goals, short- or long-term goals.”
While replacing a four-time world champion with a driver who has only stood on a podium once, Binotto says Sainz has the all-round attributes to be a success at Ferrari in the future.
“Sainz is a great addition. He is very smart, young, but he has participated in five seasons. He is a strong, reliable driver that has scored many championship points during races and I believe for us he is a great driver to be paired with the pure talent of Charles so he can grow and win.”
Binotto added Ferrari is now confident that Formula 1 will remain a space for technological innovation, when asked about the budget cap and what will be introduced next year.
“Rather than a hypothesis it is a tangible reality. Over these days we are voting the change in the rules. The budget cap has been implemented already in view of 2021 with a cap of $175 million and we want to reduce it even further, facing this pandemic and the economic crisis, so we have to reduce that to keep that low. We are about to reach an agreement to $145m.
“Formula 1 has always had rules and regulations, such as any other sport. Rules and regulations are limits of course that we set, and the best team is the team that within the limits creates the most performing product. This new rule is something we have to fulfill, within limits and boundaries, and we need to do our best. It won’t limit technology and innovation, it’s up to us to do our best and tackle these new challenges.”