Sebastian Vettel to Leave Ferrari When Contract Expires After 2020 F1 Season

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2020

Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel attends a press conference at the Albert Park circuit ahead of the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 12, 2020. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Ferrari confirmed Tuesday that Sebastian Vettel will not renew his contract with the team at the conclusion of the 2020 Formula One season. 

According to ESPN's Laurence EdmondsonFerrari team principal Mattia Binotto suggested in a statement it was an amicable decision taken by Ferrari and Vettel:

"This is a decision taken jointly by ourselves and Sebastian, one which both parties feel is for the best. 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."

The 32-year-old Vettel has been with Ferrari since 2015 after winning four consecutive drivers' championships during his time at Red Bull Racing.

Vettel five-year stint at Ferrari hasn't been as successful, and he hasn't won a title. Vettel does have 14 race wins at Ferrari and had two second-place championship finishes in both 2017 and 2018.

Per Edmondson, Italian media reported that Ferrari only offered Vettel a one-year deal with a reduced salary, which may be why he decided to move on.

Edmondson noted that Ferrari had seemingly knocked Vettel down to No. 2 driver status on the team as well after signing Charles Leclerc to a five-year contract.

Vettel said the following about the decision to part ways with Ferrari in a statement:

"My relationship with Scuderia Ferrari will finish at the end of 2020. 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."

The 2020 season, which has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be Vettel's final one with Ferrari. The season is expected to begin July 5, and it will mark the start of Vettel's last opportunity to bring a championship to the team.

No replacement has been named for Vettel as of yet, but Edmondson pointed to Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo as possibilities since their contracts are up at the end of the season with their respective teams, McLaren and Renault.