Vettel scoffs at Binotto’s coronavirus excuse

Michelle Foster
Sebastian Vettel scoffs at Binotto's coronavirus excuse

Ferrari have provided details of the ‘soft landing’ Formula 1 teams can offer to staff affected by the budget cap being introduced into the sport next year

Sebastian Vettel doesn’t believe Mattia Binotto’s claims the pandemic forced Ferrari to change their 2021 driver plans, saying it was “not” a factor.

Earlier this year Vettel and Ferrari announced that 2020 would be the German’s final season racing in red.

Stating that the two no longer had a “common desire” to work together, Ferrari later confirmed Carlos Sainz as Vettel’s replacement.

Vettel has since spilled the beans on his Ferrari exit, revealing that while he thought he would be staying with the team for 2021, he was never offered a contract with team boss Binotto instead informing him he was no longer wanted.

Asked about Ferrari’s decision to change its 2021 driver plans, Binotto told the media that the coronavirus pandemic had forced a rethink.

“Certainly we have always said during the winter, privately to him, and publicly, that he would have been our first choice, which I confirmed,” said the Italian.

“What happened since then, with the virus and pandemic situation which changed the entire world, not only motorsport in F1.

“The budget cap has been changed, it is a lot more strict, the regulations have been postponed from 2021 to 2022, which is important to us.

“During the shutdown we had to consider our position and we took a decision, that is our decision and our responsibility and we communicated it to him.”

Vettel has rubbished Binotto’s claim about the pandemic and finances playing a role in his exit, reiterating that money would never have been a factor in his decision to continue with Ferrari.

“The conditions with coronavirus are not so decisive there,” he said in an interview with ServusTV.

“There were also partial reports that we could not agree on the financial. That was not an issue at all and wouldn’t have been.”

The four-time World Champion confirmed that he believed, given what Ferrari had been saying, that he would continue with the team in 2021.

“I still thought it would have been an option to continue with Ferrari,” he said. “It was communicated like that.

“I was told they wanted to continue together.

“Then out of nowhere, I got a phone call, in which I was told that there won’t be any offer and no future together.”

Despite Ferrari’s decision and the manner in which it was carried out, Vettel has vowed to give his all in his final races with the Scuderia.

He concedes it didn’t work out that way at the season-opening Austrian GP when he spun but says he will do better in the coming races.

“I’ll accept the decision and have no problem with it,” he added.

“Despite that I will continue to fulfil my task and unlike last weekend, do a better job for the team and have a satisfactory closure.”

As for his future, the 33-year-old is still weighing up his options which reportedly include Renault and Aston Martin.

“I haven’t made a decision yet,” he revealed. “I don’t know.

“It’s important to find an environment that suits me. For me it’s important for me is to find something that gives me joy.

“The financial part is not important.”

One option, though, that is off is the table is Mercedes.

The Brackley team has all but confirmed Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for next season.

Asked about his chances of heading to Mercedes, Vettel said: “I am informed about the situation at Mercedes.

“I think Mercedes is very satisfied with how they drive at the moment. I can understand that they want to hold on to it.

“The driver decision hasn’t been made yet, but it’s obvious if Lewis wants to continue, they will and with Bottas after such a weekend it’s the same.”

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