Vettel challenges Ferrari claims over contract decision

Sebastian Vettel has challenged Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto's claim that the COVID-19 crisis was the trigger for the change of philosophy that led to his contract not being renewed.

Vettel challenges Ferrari claims over contract decision

Binotto said ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix that while Vettel's was Ferrari's first choice, the pandemic led the Maranello squad to change its preferences.

"I think the virus and pandemic situation, which changed the entire world, not only our motorsport, our F1," he said.

"The budget cap has been changed by quite a lot, and is a lot more strict, the regulations have been postponed from '21 to '22, which somehow was something important for us.

"So during the shutdown as Ferrari we had to eventually reconsider our position." 

When questioned for the first time on Ferrari's decision to drop him for 2021, Vettel revealed last week that the news came in a "surprise" phone call from Binotto.

"Yes, that's what I said," Vettel told ServusTV when asked to clarify. "I think that the last five years haven't brought what I think was the goal from both sides. Still, I think that it would have been an option to continue and work on the goal in any case.

"And that had been communicated in the same way. I was told that we want to continue. Until I got a phone call out of nowhere, when I was told that there would be no offer, that there would be no future.

"That surprised me at first. The conditions with corona and so on – I don't want to harp on it now, but I don't think they'll be that decisive.

"There were also some reports that we could not agree on the financial aspects. So that was not an issue at all and would not have been an issue.

"If you have been in Formula 1 for so long and you've been lucky enough to be so successful and on the other hand gain a certain independence, that would certainly not have been an obstacle, which is why it was surprising.

"But well, the decision as it is, I don't have a problem with it and I accept it as it is, but I'm still trying to do my job this year and do a better job than yesterday and do the best for the team to bring this to a good end."

Read Also:

Vettel insisted that his future remain plans remain open, but he made it clear that he wants to continue to race in the right environment.

"Honestly, I haven't made a decision yet, and I don't know yet for myself either. What's important, of course, is to find an environment that fits. I have enjoyed the last five years very much in many respects, but the last five years have also taken a lot of energy.

"The goal at that time was to rebuild the team. And certainly both sides have tried everything. But at the end of the day we failed on both sides, because the title didn't come. That was the big goal. Now this is a new situation for me. It will be important for me to find something that is good for me and fun. I think that is a very important thing.

"As I mentioned earlier, the financial aspect is not at all in the foreground. And of course I am still very ambitious, motorsport is my life. I don't know any other way, except the last three months it's been a little different.

"But I wouldn't really want to miss it. With the right job and the right place I would still feel very much at home in a Formula 1 car. I think the next few weeks, months, will shed light – also for myself – on what is possible, and what I want to do."

Vettel said that he made contact with Red Bull's Helmut Marko immediately after he received the call from Binotto.

"I called him right after the decision, but not to ask, 'Helmut, do you have a place?', but because I get along very well with him and he has been a confidant for years.

"I asked him for advice. I described the situation to him as it is. He's known for putting his heart on his sleeve. And then I spoke to him. What will come out in the end remains to be seen. The talks in this regard are of my own making."

Asked about the option of Mercedes, he suggested that it was unlikely that the Brackley team would have a seat for him.

"I think that the team, as it is currently driving, is very happy and is doing very well. The last few years prove that right. I can understand that they want to stick with it. No decision has been made in this respect yet. In theory, both places are still free. But is clear that Lewis can stay if he wants to. And the same goes, after yesterday, for Valtteri."

He conceded that there were three options, namely to find a seat for 2021, take a year out and return in 2022, or stop for good.

"I think you have to - at least that's how my head works - I think if you make the decision to close the door, you shouldn't make it in such a way that you have the hope to open it again. Unless it is clear from the outset.

"I believe that you must then be ready for yourself to be ready to keep the door closed. In other words: if it does not open, for whatever reason, then one should not regret the decision."

shares
comments

Related video

How Red Bull made the FIA give Hamilton a penalty

Previous article

How Red Bull made the FIA give Hamilton a penalty

Next article

Mercedes CEO quashes talk of feud with Wolff

Mercedes CEO quashes talk of feud with Wolff
Load comments
Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces Prime

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Prime

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery Prime

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi...

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021