Bernie Ecclestone says Sebastian Vettel had to “free himself” by telling the truth about why he is leaving Ferrari at the end of this season.
Back in May, Vettel and Ferrari announced that 2020 would be the four-time World Champion’s sixth and final season racing for the Scuderia.
At the time the German in the press released that he and Ferrari no longer had a “common desire” to work together.
Weeks later, Vettel revealed that wasn’t the truth.
While Ferrari had been stating he was the team’s number one pick to partner Charles Leclerc in 2021, team boss Mattia Binotto phoned Vettel prior to the May announcement to inform him that his services would not be required.
“It was obviously a surprise to me when I got the call from [Team Principal] Mattia [Binotto] when he told me that there was no further intention for the team to continue [with me],” he said in the build up to the Austrian GP.
“We never got into any discussions, there was never an offer on the table and therefore there was no sticking point.”
Binotto was forced to acknowledge that Ferrari had changed it plans about Vettel.
“I heard that he was surprised, do I remember that he was surprised? I would say yes certainly, I understand it,” the Italian said during the Friday press conference. “It is pretty normal to be surprised.
“I think that is why he accepted our decision but I think even today he is not fully happy with it which again I think is normal and obvious.”
Ecclestone, who counts himself amongst Vettel’s friends, feels the German was right telling the truth about his axing.
He also says Vettel’s spin during the Austrian race was not a sign that his head is not in the game.
The former F1 supremo told F1-Insider.com: “I’ve been talking to Sebastian a lot lately.
“I advised him that the truth about the separation from Ferrari must come out on the table. That was important for him.
“Sebastian is an extremely talented driver with a strong will, but very sensitive when he has to live with injustice. He has now freed himself from this.
“The driving mistake had nothing to do with it. Something like this can always happen.
“Even Lewis Hamilton, the other superstar of the scene, didn’t have his best weekend in Austria.”
Vettel’s former Red Bull colleague Helmut Marko was impressed that Vettel didn’t spill the beans back in May already.
“I would have lost my patience much earlier,” said the Austrian. “That Sebastian has waited so long to tell the truth only shows what a great team player he actually is.
“He will be just as motivated as ever. His goal is to beat his team-mate.
“Maybe he was even a bit more over-motivated on Sunday after Thursday’s straight talk and wanted too much.”