The F1 paddock reverberated to the sudden, dramatic news on Saturday morning at Suzuka that reigning quadruple World Champion Vettel had decided to cut his ties with his long-time employers at the end of the season. And while there has been no official announcement from his apparent new employers as yet, Christian Horner and Marko have made clear that the German is leaving them to join rivals Ferrari.
With Fernando Alonso’s imminent departure from Ferrari leaving a vacancy at the Maranello outfit next year, the Italian F1 team has wasted no time moving for its number one target.
Vettel has activated a break clause in his contract and will leave Red Bull, which has helped him to four consecutive world titles.
Ferrari has not yet confirmed its plans, though.
A statement from Red Bull said: “Sebastian Vettel has advised us that he will be leaving Red Bull at the end of the 2014 season.
“We want to warmly thank Sebastian for the incredible role he has played at Red Bull for the last six years.”
Red Bull will promote Daniil Kyvat from Toro Rosso for next season, and he will drive alongside Daniel Ricciardo.
Alonso is set for a switch to McLaren, although it is understood that no deal is in place yet.
Raikkonen and Vettel already friendly with one another
And despite Kimi Raikkonen’s struggles in 2014, the Finn has a watertight contract and so he looks set to be Vettel’s teammate in red. Famously, the pair are friends.
Asked by the Finnish broadcaster MTV3 if he would be happy to work with Vettel at Ferrari, Raikkonen said at Suzuka: “Absolutely.
“I have never worked with him, we’ve always been in different teams, but I know him well.”
Raikkonen played down any lingering doubts that he might join Alonso in departing the crisis-struck Maranello camp, amid ‘academy’ driver Jules Bianchi’s obvious interest in stepping up for 2015.
“I have a contract,” said Raikkonen, “and I expect that I am here next year.
“I strongly believe that we will be in better positions next season.
“I know Marco (Mattiacci) has said he does not expect us to be at the front next year, but who knows,” the 2007 world champion added.
“Lots of things happen in Formula One, including big steps in development.
“I’m here because I want to be here,” said Raikkonen. “I could leave tonight, but I can also continue for two or ten more years if I want.”
[ Source: motorsport.com ]
Vettel on his decision to leave RedBull
Q: Sebastian, there have long been rumours you could leave Red Bull for Ferrari – and now your departure at least is confirmed, which sent shockwaves through the paddock. No one throws away an association of 15 years so easily, so there must be a good reason for you to move on…
Sebastian Vettel: Probably because the attraction of doing something new was bigger than [it was] to stay.
Q: Fleeing the nest after 15 years with Red Bull is a major step. What does that mean for you?
SV: It means exactly that: a major step! It was my home and in fact you only move out of home once in your life – that is big. We had a fantastic time in those 15 years but sometimes it is also time to open a new chapter.
Q: How hard was it for you to go for the ‘new’?
SV: It felt very hard, because I am not leaving due to any issues. It clearly is a decision for something new, and not against the existing. But then you have to follow your inner voice. And that is not automatically the easier decision – but I hope it is the right one, and that wherever it takes me I will be happy with it.
Q: Can we expect an announcement from Ferrari? Right now there is only the Red Bull press release stating your departure and Christian Horner saying that you will join Ferrari…
SV: I am sure that very soon there will be something to say – but not right now.
Q: Have you signed a contract with Ferrari?
SV: As I just said, I have nothing to announce right now, but it will not take too long.
Q: Could anything stand in your way of moving to Ferrari then, if you haven’t signed a contract?
SV: I didn’t say that. I just said that I cannot announce anything right now. What I can say is that I will definitely stay in Formula One and not go skiing or mountain biking.
[ Source: formula1.com ]