2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button says it is “madness” if Sebastian Vettel has been pushed out of Ferrari. 

Last week Ferrari said that four-time world champion Vettel would be leaving the team at the end of the 2020 season following the expiry of his contract after the two sides failed to agree new terms.

The Italian squad announced the signing of Carlos Sainz from McLaren just 48 hours after Vettel’s exit was confirmed, while Daniel Ricciardo’s switch from Renault to McLaren for 2021 was also sealed on the same day. 

Why is Sebastian Vettel leaving Ferrari? | Crash.net

It has been since been reported that Ferrari never offered Vettel a new contract and had already lined up Sainz as his replacement over the winter, with McLaren boss Zak Brown admitting the team had given the Spaniard permission to speak to Ferrari during the off-season. 

“If he was pushed, for me it’s madness,” Button said on Sky Sports F1. “It really is.

“A four time world champion, he showed his speed as well last year, he had a tough moment in the season when Charles was performing really well and I think that did hurt him a little bit mentally.

“But he came back really strong and he’s just somebody you would definitely choose to put in your car if you had an F1 team. So, there must be more to it.

“I don’t know if Ferrari is going down the route of not wanting two number one drivers or what but it’s a really strange choice to me and I’m still shocked by the decision of Sebastian not being in a red car.”

And Button reckons Ferrari has made a mistake if it has chosen Sainz in the belief he will not pose a threat to Charles Leclerc’s position within the team. 

“I think that Carlos is a winner,” he explained. 

“He’s like his father, he wants to go there and do the best he can and he wants to bring home a championship.

“He [Binotto]’s chosen the wrong person if he just wants a good atmosphere within a team.

“Obviously [Ferrari will have] a great character in Carlos but he wants to win.“We’ll have to see how it plays out.”