Sebastian Vettel insists that financial matters “played no part” in his shock exit from the Ferrari Formula 1 team.

On Tuesday morning Ferrari confirmed Vettel would be leaving the team after six years at the end of the 2020 season following reports in German media overnight which claimed contract talks had broken down between both sides.

It had been suggested that Ferrari was only willing to offer a one-year deal on significantly reduced terms, but Vettel says the decision to part ways was because they no longer have a “common desire to stay together”.

“In order to get the best possible results in this sport, it’s vital for all parties to work in perfect harmony,” Vettel said.

“The team and I have realised that there is no longer a common desire to stay together beyond the end of this season.

“Financial matters have played no part in this joint decision. That’s not the way I think when it comes to making certain choices and it never will be.

“What’s been happening in these past few months has led many of us to reflect on what are our real priorities in life.

“One needs to use one’s imagination and to adopt a new approach to a situation that has changed. I myself will take the time I need to reflect on what really matters when it comes to my future.”

Vettel’s position as the de facto number one driver at Ferrari appeared to be under threat following the arrival of Charles Leclerc, who turned in a sensational maiden campaign at the Scuderia on his way to beating the four-time world champion in the championship standings last year.

Ferrari rewarded Leclerc with a long-term extension over the winter that has tied him down to until the end of 2024, while Vettel was consigned to his worst result since leaving Red Bull with uncertainty lingering over his future heading into the final year of the three-year contract he signed back in 2017.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto stressed Vettel’s departure was a joint-decision and was not influenced by money.

“This is a decision taken jointly by ourselves and Sebastian, one which both parties feel is for the best,” he explained.

“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.”

Leclerc paid tribute to Vettel on social media and said he “never learnt so much as I did with you as my teammate”.

 

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