Mattia Binotto believes Sebastian Vettel will want to continue in Formula 1 beyond his Ferrari departure because “he’s so passionate about this sport”.

Vettel, who has claimed 14 victories at Ferrari since joining the team in 2015, will leave the Scuderia once his contract expires at the end of the year. He will be replaced in 2021 by current McLaren driver Carlos Sainz, who has signed a two-year deal at Maranello.

The four-time world champion’s options for remaining in F1 appear limited, with the only clear opening left at Renault when Daniel Ricciardo leaves to fill Sainz’s vacant seat at McLaren.

Although retirement has been mooted, Vettel’s current boss Binotto does not expect the German to walkaway from F1 altogether.

“I think it was the right thing for him and for us,” Binotto said in an interview with Sky Italia.

“Only Seb knows what he will do in the future. He's a great driver and he'll make the right choice.

“He spent six years at Ferrari and the team has a special place in his heart. We have a good relationship with him, which isn't to be taken for granted when there's a parting of ways.

“There's a mutual understanding of the reasoning behind this change.

“As for Vettel's future, I think he's so passionate about this sport. He'll want to get back into it, although he'll have a few things to think about. We're looking at a long-term project.”

And Binotto expects Vettel to turn in a strong campaign once the 2020 season finally gets underway following the delays caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"I expect him to do very well this year because he's a great professional and we hold him in high regard," he said.

“We'll have to give our drivers the ideal car to be able to perform at their best."