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Ferrari confirms Vettel will leave at end of 2020

Ferrari has formally stated Sebastian Vettel will leave the team at the end of the 2020 Formula 1 season, calling it a joint decision.

Vettel’s existing three-year deal expires at the end of the season, but after months of talks over a fresh contract without a breakthrough, the decision was taken to part company.

Ferrari confirmed Vettel’s exit in a statement issued on Tuesday morning.

“This is a decision taken jointly by ourselves and Sebastian, one which both parties feel is for the best,” Ferrari team principal Mattia 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.”

Vettel is understood to have been offered a short-term contract at a reduced salary compared to his prior deals, but stressed in his announcement that financial considerations played no part in the decision.

“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 realised that there is no longer a common desire to stay together beyond the end of this season,” Vettel said.

Vettel’s immediate future in F1 remains uncertain, with a seat at fellow front-running teams Mercedes and Red Bull seeming unlikely.

It would leave the four-time world champion facing a drop into F1’s midfield, or retiring altogether.

“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,” Binotto added. “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.”

Ferrari is yet to make any firm decision on who will substitute Vettel for 2021 and join Charles Leclerc at Maranello.

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