With both sides struggling to meet their expectations, the German driver said he would leave his Formula One team after the 2020 season.
One of the most iconic teams in Formula One and one of the most popular drivers in the global motor racing series are parting ways, after Sebastian Vettel said on Tuesday that the current season would be his last with Ferrari.
Sebastian Vettel, 32, joined the team in 2015 as a four-time champion but has been unable to bring his winning touch to Ferrari, which has millions of devotees around the world and whose red liveried cars retain an almost unmatched allure for drivers.
But both the driver and the team are going through a rough patch. Sebastian Vettel had been in talks about renewing his contract for months before the surprise announcement on Tuesday, and although news reports suggested that he was not happy with the salary and duration that had been offered, he denied money was behind his decision.
“To get the best possible results in this sport, it’s vital for all parties to work in perfect harmony,” Vettel said in comments published on the Ferrari team’s website. “The team and I have realized that there is no longer a common desire to stay together beyond the end of this season.”
Addressing the matter of his compensation and its role in his decision, he said, “That’s not the way I think when it comes to making certain choices, and it never will be.”
Along with Red Bull and Mercedes, Ferrari is among the biggest-spending Formula One teams, but that has not resulted in success on the racing circuit.
The last Ferrari driver to win a world championship was Kimi Raikkonen, in 2007. The team last topped the constructors’ table, which is based on the aggregate points garnered by the team’s drivers in a single season, a year later.
Only last month, Ferrari’s team principal, Mattia Binotto, extolled the value of Vettel’s importance to the team and expressed his hope that the German driver would sign a new contract. Binotto said the decision to part ways was a joint one that did not come easily.
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