It’s been over a month since Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari announced they would be parting ways after 2020. Now, unless one has been living under a rock, this isn’t news to F1 fans. However, the call from Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto to Sebastian Vettel, about his future, certainly was ‘news’ to the German.
It was reported that Vettel’s break-up with Ferrari was due to him being given a reduced status in the team. (Read: The Real Reason Why Sebastian Vettel is Walking Away From Scuderia Ferrari). However, Vettel’s recent comments don’t indicate that he was ever given an offer in the first place.
In the driver’s press conference, held today, the 4-time world champion said that he had no clue what was coming before he got a call, from team boss Binotto. He said, “ No offer was on the table.”
“There was no sticking point. It was obviously a surprise to me when I got the call from Mattia when he told me that there was no further intention from the team to continue.
“We never got into any discussions, there was never an offer on the table and therefore, there was no sticking point,” said Vettel as quoted by Motorsport.com.
All the news thus far seemed to indicate that it was Vettel’s decision not to continue with Ferrari. But this statement from the German completely turns things around. It indicates that irrespective of what Vettel wanted, Ferrari was already looking elsewhere.
This would put things in a very awkward place, from a relationship dynamic point of view for 2020. However, Ferrari has stated that despite giving Charles Leclerc a record 5-year deal, they let the track determine who is ‘number 1’ and ‘number 2’. Although Binotto was addressing Leclerc and Sainz here. But if Ferrari are indeed going to start this season preferring Leclerc, then they might be going against their own principles. (Read: “It Has Always Been This Way:” How Ferrari Decides it ‘Number 1’ and ‘Number2’ Driver).
Nevertheless, being the professional that he is, expect Vettel to hit the track with a clear mind. The German will now be looking to prove to Ferrari how wrong they were to let him leave. If he were to bag a good amount of Grand Prix wins this year, then don’t rule out a move to Mercedes in 2021, for the 4-time world champion.