Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has said there was a joint decision that the time was ultimately right for the team and Sebastian Vettel to go their separate ways.
The news of Vettel’s exit broke in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Europe and Ferrari released a statement to confirm Vettel’s departure at the end of the 2020 season.
One of the rumours in the build-up to the break-up was that Vettel was reportedly unhappy with the new terms being offered by Ferrari – a one-year extension with a drastic pay cut.
But, Vettel and Binotto have both said that it was purely an amicable decision between them both with no specific reason, such as finances, to blame for the breakdown in contract talks.
“This is a decision taken jointly by ourselves and Sebastian, one which both parties feel is for the best,” Binotto said upon official confirmation.
“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.
“Sebastian is already part of the Scuderia’s history, with his 14 Grands Prix wins making him the third most successful driver for the team, while he is also the one who has scored the most points with us.
“In our five years together, he has finished in the top three of the Drivers’ Championship three times, making a significant contribution to the team’s constant presence in the top three of the Constructors’ classification.
“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.
“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.”