What Sebastian Vettel wants, Sebastian Vettel gets.
Holding an opt-out trump card up his sleeve, the four-time world champion has informed his team Infiniti Red Bull Racing that he will not finish out his contract that runs until 2016 and will leave at the end of the 2014 season.
This paves the way for Vettel to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot and idol Michael Schumacher and join Formula 1’s most popular team Ferrari.
Vettel leaves the only team he has known for the last 15 years. At 12 years old, he starting out as a junior driver with Torro Rosso before spending the last six years with the senior Red Bull Team.
Sebastian Vettel is expected to team up with Kimi Raikkonen next season with Ferrari.
“He informed us last night and obviously had his reasoning behind that. I don’t think he’d taken the decision lightly and was obviously very emotional about it. But if it’s his desire to be somewhere else, then it’s not right for us to stand in his path. We’ve achieved a great deal together and we’ve enjoyed a lot of success. We’ve had some great times – on and off track – and we’ll look back on those with great fondness and affection. As of January 1st he’ll be a competitor. He’ll be a Ferrari driver,” said Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner.
“He didn’t break his contract. There was a clause in his contract that he could go and recently he told us. If he would have traded us with let’s say Mercedes it would have been difficult, but Ferrari for each race driver it’s such a myth and fascination, I completely can understand it," said Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko.
Vettel’s seat next season will be picked up by Torro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat.
Below is the official statement of Infiniti Red Bull Racing:
October 4, 2014
Statement from The Team.
Sebastian Vettel has advised us that he will be leaving Infiniti Red Bull Racing at the end of the 2014 season.
We want to warmly thank Sebastian for the incredible role he has played at Infiniti Red Bull Racing for the last six years.
Since joining the team in 2009, Sebastian, together with Infiniti Red Bull Racing, has scored 38 wins, 44 poles and eight World Championships, including four Drivers' titles and four Constructors'. If you include Sebastian's success at Red Bull's second team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, the Red Bull total increases to 39 wins and 45 poles.
As we wish Sebastian well in the next stage of his career, we also look to the future with excitement, as the vacancy makes way for the next generation of Red Bull racers.
The Red Bull Junior Programme has developed some proven talents in recent times, including Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, who has excelled in the RB10 and become a three-time Formula One race winner in his first season with the team.
We're pleased to announce that Daniel will be joined in the team for 2015 by another rising star from the Junior Programme, Daniil Kvyat.