Sebastian Vettel to leave Ferrari at end of 2020 season

Omnisport

Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2020 Formula One season, the team announced on Tuesday.

Four-time world champion Vettel's contract was due to expire after the 2020 campaign and an agreement to extend the deal could not be reached.

The 32-year-old denied their failure to agree terms was due to the finances.

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He said in a statement: "Scuderia Ferrari occupies a special place in Formula One and I hope it gets all the success it deserves.

"Finally, I want to thank the whole Ferrari family and above all its 'tifosi' all around the world, for the support they have given me over the years.

"My immediate goal is to finish my long stint with Ferrari, in the hope of sharing some more beautiful moments together, to add to all those we have enjoyed so far."

Team principal Mattia Binotto said: "This is a decision taken jointly by ourselves and Sebastian, one which both parties feel is for the best. 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.

"Sebastian is already part of the Scuderia's history, with his 14 grands prix wins making him the third most successful driver for the team, while he is also the one who has scored the most points with us.

"In our five years together, he has finished in the top three of the drivers' championship three times, making a significant contribution to the team's constant presence in the top three of the constructors' classification.

"On behalf of everyone at Ferrari, I want to thank Sebastian for his great professionalism and the human qualities he has displayed over these five years, during which we shared so many great moments.

"We have not yet managed to win a world title together, which would be a fifth for him, but we believe that we can still get a lot out of this unusual 2020 season."

Vettel's future in the sport looks unclear and his departure from Ferrari could lead to sweeping changes throughout the F1 grid.

Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz Jr are reportedly the leading candidates to become Charles Leclerc's new team-mate.

Ricciardo had a disappointing first season at Renault after joining on a two-year contract, while Sainz finished an impressive sixth in the drivers' standings for a resurgent McLaren in 2019.

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has been heavily linked with a switch to Ferrari in the past, though is understood to have signalled his intention to stay at Mercedes.

Vettel topped the drivers' standings for four consecutive years at Red Bull from 2010 but was unable to continue that success with Ferrari.

His time with the Scuderia has coincided with Mercedes' era of dominance.

The closest Vettel got to winning the title with Ferrari was in 2017, when he led the standings going into the mid-season break but ended up finishing 46 points behind Hamilton.

Last season Vettel was outscored by team-mate Leclerc, who was in his second year as a senior driver in F1, and placed fifth in the championship.

The German has won 14 races and been on the podium 54 times with Ferrari.

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