Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel could not agree a contract extension beyond 2020 as they no longer shared the same short- or long-term objectives, according to team boss Mattia Binotto.
On Tuesday, Ferrari confirmed Vettel will leave the team when his current contract expires at the end of this season. That triggered the first big moves of the 2021 driver market, with Carlos Sainz replacing Vettel on a two-year deal and Daniel Ricciardo taking the place of the Spaniard at McLaren.
In the announcement of Vettel’s impending departure the German said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has indefinitely delayed the start of the 2020 season, has allowed him to reassess priorities. Binotto hinted at this change of mindset being key in the decision to move in a different direction.
“Over the last weeks the world has changed, not only from an economic point of view but also from a technical and sport point of view, there are challenges and obstacles that are going to be difficult,” Binotto said at the Motor Valley Fest Digital.
“We are laying the foundations for the future. And we want to have a specific perspective.
“We discussed with Sebastian and we found out we didn’t share the same goals, short or long term goals, Sainz is a great addition, he is smart, young, he has participated in five seasons, he is a strong, reliable pilot that conquers many championship points during races and I believe for us he is a great pilot to be paired with the pure talent of Charles so he can grow and win.”
Ferrari’s announcement of Sainz, who has just one podium finish to his name, will give the Italian team its most inexperienced line-up in recent memory.
Charles Leclerc, whose resume consists of the two wins, seven podiums and 10 podium finishes he claimed last year, is now the senior driver.
Despite that, Binotto has no doubts about the decision to move on from four-time world champion Vettel.
“When taking these decisions it’s because we are convinced we made the right decision, we close the cycle with Sebastian, it’s been six years since Sebastian has been working in our team, I admire Sebastian, I admire him as a person and as a professional, I hold him in great esteem.”