Ferrari’s early notice to Sebastian Vettel of its desire to replace him was made so that he had the best chance to find another seat for 2021, according to team principal Mattia Binotto.
Vettel will be replaced by Carlos Sainz at Ferrari next season, with the move being announced back in May. After Vettel was confirmed as joining Aston Martin next year, Binotto (pictured above) says he is happy to see the four-time world champion remaining on the grid and that he had hoped the early warning of his departure from Ferrari was a help.
“I think it is not a surprise,” Binotto said. “We are very happy for that conclusion. I think the fact that we told him our decision for next year very early in the season was really to give him all the chances to find a seat for 2021, so finally I’m very happy for him as a person.
“As a driver, I think it’s great for Formula 1 that’s Seb’s still part of the line-ups next year because he’s still a four-time world champion and I think he’s a fantastic driver. Will he do well in Aston Martin or Racing Point or whatever it is? I think yes, I hope he’s doing well, certainly. I think we can challenge him next year and hopefully we’ll simply be ahead.”
Vettel still has the remainder of this season to complete with Ferrari as the team looks to bounce back from a tough couple of events in Spa and Monza. While Charles Leclerc was third in FP1, the Ferrari pair dropped to 10th and 12th in the afternoon session, where Binotto expects them to remain.
“Hopefully Belgium and Monza have been outliers for us. These were certainly different tracks where low drag is required. So we hope that here at least we can to our level of competitiveness at the start of the season, which is certainly not still great but at least we’re where we were before.
“Yes, Charles did a great lap (in FP1), he got the confidence with the track. I think he drove well — but still there is much to do, much to come as well on our side, looking at the data, the sectors and progressing through the weekend.”