Christian Horner has confirmed Sebastian Vettel has informed him that he is joining Ferrari and says Red Bull is "losing a wonderful driver".

Vettel informed Horner of his decision on Friday night in Japan, with Red Bull announcing the four-time world champion's departure on Saturday morning. With Fernando Alonso poised to leave Ferrari, Vettel was the team's preferred replacement and Horner confirmed that the German is heading to Maranello.

"We're losing a wonderful driver, obviously," Horner said. "He's grown with us, I don't think anybody has to question what he's done and Ferrari will obviously benefit from Sebastian being there. As far as our team is concerned - Infiniti Red Bull Racing - we're excited about the prospect of Daniil Kvyat lining up with Ricciardo, who has done such a wonderful job for us. The future is very bright for us."

When it was put to Horner that he had just said Vettel is moving to Ferrari, he replied: "He's not going to Caterham..."

And Horner believes Red Bull is entering "a new era" post-Vettel, saying Kvyat's promotion from Toro Rosso gives the team a strong line-up.

"I think he just fancied a new challenge. He's decided that his heart is somewhere else and we look back with a huge amount of pride at what we've achieved together. It wouldn't be right to hold him back. If someone's heart isn't in the team then it's better to release them and I think we now face a new era within the team and in Daniil Kvyat I think we've got a really exciting young talent alongside what Ricciardo has already proved he's capable of this year. It's an exciting prospect for us."

And Horner said Alonso was never in contention to replace Vettel, pointing to the recent success of Red Bull's Young Driver Program.

"It's not within our philosophy to go outward and as we've demonstrated with investing in youth, investing in Sebastian over the last 15 years, investing in Daniel Ricciardo, it works. In Kvyat we've got another extraordinary talent who is going to have an exciting future ahead of him."