This year’s championship may be Sebastian Vettel’s last with Ferrari but the German says he will play the team game if it “makes sense”.
Earlier this year Vettel and Ferrari announced that 2020 would be the four-time World Champion’s last with the Scuderia.
While initially it was stated that the team no longer had a “common desire” to work together, Vettel has since put the blame for his exit solely on Ferrari.
According to the German he was “surprised” when team boss Mattia Binotto called to let him know Ferrari would not be renewing his deal.
“It was obviously a surprise to me when I got the call from Mattia when he told me that there was no further intention for the team to continue [with me],” Vettel said ahead of the season-opening Austrian GP.
“We never got into any discussions, there was never an offer on the table and therefore there was no sticking point.”
Vettel’s exit has raised questions about how Ferrari will handle this year’s championship, whether Charles Leclerc will be given number one status and whether or not Vettel will adhere to the new state of play.
Sky Sport’s commentator Martin Brundle reckons Ferrari could have a situation on its hands trying to managing its drivers.
“Which bit of Ferrari team orders is Seb Vettel going to be interested in?” asked the former driver.
“He never was that interested before at Red Bull or Ferrari, so he certainly isn’t going to be now, and he has a big point to prove. He’ll be quick.
“With these dynamics at play it’s inevitable they’ll meet up in combat at some point.”
Vettel insists he is still a Ferrari man and will play the game, if it “makes sense” to do so.
He won’t, however, be waving Leclerc through for no reason.
“Surely should the situation arise and make sense I think you expect both drivers to help each other out,” he told F1.com.
“I don’t think that has anything to do with the fact that my contract expires and I’m going to be leaving the team.
“But at the same time you’re racing for yourself… you know, not trying to make Charles’s life easier on track in terms of waving him by.
“We have been fighting each other in the past and we will continue to do so.”
As for Leclerc, who tangled with Vettel several times most notably in Brazil last season, he feels the dynamics won’t be any different this season.
He does, however, feel the two should work together.
He added: “I don’t think that will change compared to the other season.
“Last year we were fighting each other and of course sometimes we need to also play as a team, or drive as a team and work as a team, which is always very important.
“It’s also beneficial for us to in some ways to work as a team. Again there will be situations where it’s good that we have to work as a team.”