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Binotto: Vettel was Ferrari's first choice before coronavirus pandemic

  • Published on 03 Jul 2020 15:25
  • comments 7
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Ferrari planned to secure Sebastian Vettel's services for the 2021 season before complications arose amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Ferrari's team principal Mattia Binotto.

Earlier this year, the Italian outfit announced that it would not continue with Vettel beyond the 2020 season, declaring the two had agreed to part on mutual terms.

However, on Thursday in Austria, Vettel stated he was surprised to hear he would not be a Ferrari driver next year and that he was not offered a new contract.

Carlos Sainz has already been named as his replacement, with Binotto confirming that he started talking to potential drivers in December of 2019. 

Binotto labelled the process of talking to potential newcomers as “normal” but asserts that Ferrari intended to continue with Vettel before the coronavirus pandemic caused repercussions for Formula 1's future. 

“I think that Seb has been honest and transparent by telling it [how it was],” Binotto said. “During wintertime, a lot of drivers asked us if there was any opportunity, and that's normal at that time.

“But as we said privately with him and publicly, Seb has always been our first option. What happened later on, the pandemic situation, it changed completely the situation in the world, not only Formula 1. 

“[There was] a more strict budget cap [introduced], regulations which have been postponed which for us were important, until 2022. The cars at the moment are almost frozen for next year.

“The season has not started, as well for him. It was an opportunity for him to be back on track and to prove his intention to drive fast for Ferrari. 

“So we had to make a decision, we took the decision. I informed him. I think while he accepts the decision because he's a great and professional guy, I think he never truly and fully understood it.  I think he was surprised, which I understand as well.”

Vettel's future in F1 beyond 2020 remains in the air, however he has been linked with potential moves to Mercedes, Red Bull and Renault.

As he sees out his final year at Ferrari, Binotto maintains that the relationship between the German and the team remains strong: “I said privately and publicly, Sebastian was our first choice. 

“The relationship is still great, I respect him, hopefully he respects us as persons. The 'big shock' means he doesn't fully understand our decision, but that's part of life.”

Replies (7)

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  • abhidbgt

    Posts: 264

    So his salary became a constraint for Ferrari. But salaries are excluded from budget. And without a negotiation it cannot become a constraint. A strange explanation.

    • + 0
    • Jul 3 2020 - 17:40
    • I don't buy it. If it was about money I fell they could have negotiated but they didn't even try.

      • + 0
      • Jul 3 2020 - 18:44
    • abhidbgt

      Posts: 264

      I agree.

      • + 0
      • Jul 3 2020 - 19:34
  • Snooky

    Posts: 96

    Seems like a pretty poor excuse, wasn’t even asked if he’d do it for less money, no offer at all. If it was because of the errors it seems silly that they just didn’t say that

    • + 0
    • Jul 3 2020 - 17:40
    • Taures

      Posts: 947

      Jij was er niet bij, kan je dan niet oordelen. Alleen Vettel en Binotto weet hoe de vork id steel zit.

      • + 0
      • Jul 3 2020 - 18:50
    • Snooky

      Posts: 96

      Taures read the comments from Binnotto, he said it was down to money and COVID-19. No contract was ever offered in any form despite them insisting he was the number 1 driver right up until they announced Sainz. Vettel has said he’s not in the sport for the money or the lifestyle of flying al over the world, he’s there because he loves F1 and wants to win. You’d like to think if this was the case he’d be willing to negotiate a lower wage if that was the issue Ferrari are stating

      • + 0
      • Jul 3 2020 - 21:05
  • I don't buy it - maybe this is explained by verbal discussions on salary expectations alone - so yes there was no contract offered but it would be normal for expectations to be ball-parked pre contract. Anyway - it's in Sebs hands - nothing to lose/fear - a few barnstorming drives over next couple months will do his case no harm for a top drive in 2021.

    • + 0
    • Jul 4 2020 - 08:33

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