Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2014

Vettel’s Red Bull exit not because of 2014 slump

2014 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2014Sebastian Vettel says he is not leaving Red Bull because of the difficulties the team have experienced this year.

The team confirmed today Vettel will leave them at the end of the year. Having won the last four drivers’ championships with them, Vettel had not won a race so far in 2014.

However he told reporters at Suzuka his decision “has nothing to do with the results we had this year”.

“It’s more the fact that I felt ready and I thought the time is right to start something new,” Vettel explained.

He said the decision to leave Red Bull, who had supported his career for years before he reached F1, was “very tough”.

“It’s not that I’m unhappy,” said Vettel, “obviously I enjoyed every race I had there. We had an incredible run the last five or six years.”

“Obviously this year was not the way we’re hoping for but still it’s part of racing, part of life, and I’m leaving a very, very happy place – that’s why it’s always difficult.

“But at some point in your life I think you feel you want to do something new, something different. That voice kept growing and led me to decide to leave Red Bull and go and start a new chapter.”

Vettel, who is widely rumoured to be heading to Ferrari, said he cannot confirm who he will be driving for next year. “But I think I will announce very soon,” he said.

“Obviously I’m hoping for the very best,” he added. “I have a lot of hope otherwise you wouldn’t make such a tough decision to leave a happy place, to leave people that you like and face such difficult consequences as tell them that you’re leaving.”

“So obviously I’m full of hope and full of faith that anywhere I go, I will succeed.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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81 comments on “Vettel’s Red Bull exit not because of 2014 slump”

  1. good luck Seb! You’re going to be great for the team

  2. The thing I’m very much interested in to know is whether Alonso left, opening a spot for Vettel or Vettel knocked on their door and Alonso had to make way. With Kimi probably retirering in 2016 I don’t think he has anything to do with any of it. The real surprise though would be if Vettel in fact went to McLaren and not Ferrari as we expected.

    I do believe what he is saying though. After 6 years of Red Bull it is time for this still very young talent to try his luck elsewhere. Can he do a Schumacher, I think not. Is there another title possibility for Vettel, I think he’ll be a contender in the next few years if the car is right as there can be no doubt he has the capabilities.

    1. Firing Alonso and keeping Raikkonen would be a terrible decision. I think Alonso decided to leave, Vettel heard about it and let Ferrari know he’d be interested, Alonso made things permanent, so Ferrari offered a seat for Vettel.

    2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      4th October 2014, 14:08

      @xtwl – That is indeed a good question, but AUTOSPORT report that Alonso is in advanced negotiations with McLaren and with Honda a) the sway to undermine any partisan grudges Ron has and b) having courted Alonso for over a year now there can be little doubt over Fernando’s 2015 destination. Also I find it difficult to believe that Ferrari would have parted ways with their figurehead and the only reason a Ferrari has succeeded in F1 in recent years when Vettel, who has by contrast been struggling this year, came knocking without Alonso having alienated the management by looking to exit the team and move elsewhere.

      1. @william-brierty The question however stays relevant as it seems Vettel has a contract but Alonso is still working on his. That is rather odd is it not?

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          4th October 2014, 16:54

          @xtwl – Well if you are Sebastian Vettel why wouldn’t you want to destablize Alonso’s negotiations by jumping the announcement gun and promptly casting McLaren and Alonso into a PR nightmare? Presumably having recently signed on the dotted line at Ferrari, with his 2012 provisional contract with them meaning that the negotiations would have been short (whereas it appears Alonso only decided to reciprocate Honda’s advances as late as mid-season and is probably trying to wrangle a Ferrari-esque salary to support his 2013 move from a Swiss tax haven to Spain), there was no need for Vettel to delay the announcement.

          1. @william-brierty
            Alonso is a smart man, he seemed to be very confident in his interview when he said that he is in a privileged position because of years of hard work, respect….He won’t say that if he was not in a strong position and indeed he was even with Ferrari.
            The delay of the announcement of the new driver is a detail imposed by Alonso himself in his negotiation with Ferrari, he had the upper hand because he had a performance clause in his contract (3rd in the WCC) that enables him to escape cash compensation in case he wanted to leave while Ferrari in any case should pay him cash compensation if they wanted to get rid of him.
            So Vettel and Ferrari should wait the end of the season to announce their commitment together.

          2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            4th October 2014, 22:41

            @tifoso1989 – This is not the interview given by a driver in his prime facing a sabbatical… …albeit Fernando tends not leak emotion at any time, he is happy, happy enough for the grid’s less intelligent journalists to link him with a Mercedes drive. I find Brundle’s pessimism confusing when he is essentially now a free agent and there is a team who has been seeking to nab him for over a year now ready and waiting. McLaren’s lethargy over contractual negotiations and driver announcements is merely Dennis-derived team culture and in stark contrast to that of Red Bull, who as I say are actively using this PR storm against McLaren and Ferrari knowing their team’s future is secure.

    3. @xtwl, Forget adventure and new challenges and look at it purely in business/financial terms (as a manager working on commision would) and it is a very sensible time for the current (and 4 x) champion to sign a long term contract with a financially secure team, next year he will be a “past champion” and every race he gets beaten fair and square by his team mate will diminish his status and monetary value.

      1. @hohum Vettel has no manager. He does it himself. And I doubt that was playing any part in his signing. For me you’re quite the fool if you still think a) Vettel is average and b) Riciardo is better than him.

        1. @xtwl, you are putting words in my mouth, if Vettel is his own manager (as we know he is) he must think like a manager, not a sentimental schoolboy, I never said I thought he was average nor did I say RIC is better but the risk is still there.

          1. @hohum I wasn’t trying to put those words in your mouth. Sorry if it looked that way. I was saying that his value on the driver market doesn’t really depend that much on being ‘beaten’ by RIC or not claiming his fifth title. He’s an enormous asset to any team and worth top dollar.

  3. Good Luck Sev but please don’t expect any miracles at Ferrari in the near future especially next year when Honda will join the party.

    1. The baby of Allison should be interesting !!!

  4. I used to hate vettel when he was winning with Red Bull. But somehow now i feel for him. I would love to see him winning another WDC with any new team.

    1. For some reason, Vettel couldn’t be the Schumacher or Alonso for fans – even though there are many of his fans who want him to win but most of them, i am sure, would hold Schumi and Alonso higher than Vettel. I think this bloke lacks that charisma…

      1. Vettel has much more charisma than Alonso ever had.

        1. You must be joking.. Vettel is more humorous and approachable than Alonso, I’d give you that..

      2. Its so funny…VET kicked out ALO. Ppl saying doesn’t have charisma,suzzy,this, that for VET.

        1. After LUCA was fired, the writing was on the wall for ALO. It was just a matter of time.
          It would have beenn interesting to see how VET vs. ALO…THAT will be a treat for the fans.
          I am not really excited for VET vs KIMI.

      3. I kinda like Vettel, I just dont want to see him winning so often anymore. The big problem for me is Red Bull has nothing to do with cars, per say; obviously they spend huge amounts through out thousands of sports, but they are still a drinks company, nothing to do with cars, like Ferrari, Mclaren, Williams, Sauber.

        1. Be sometime before Ferrari are winning on merit with any driver. Wish both Ferrari, Kimi & Sebastiaan good luck

  5. Good Luck Sebastian for you future.

  6. He needs to forget this season, and start 2015 strongly with whichever team he is signed for (we still aren’t 100% sure he’s going to Ferrari, after all). That’s crucial if he wants to cement his reputation.

    Though if his Schumacher-mirroring continues, Formula One might be in for another of its boring spells!

    1. I heard global warming has make Ross Brawn’s fishing life unpleasing. He’ll join multiple German WDC at Ferrari…

    2. @vettel1
      What if Ricciardo decides to join Vettel alongside the Scuderia? :P

      1. @kingshark Well, he’ll just need to beat him ;)

        1. @vettel1
          Easier said than done. ;)

          Man I so wish that Alonso stays at Ferrari (even though he’s leaving). I badly want to see Vettel-Alonso in the same car, because it would prove what I’ve been saying on this site since 2011! :P

          1. I want it too, just because of the holy epicness @kingshark! :D

          2. @vettel1
            Raikkonen-Vettel is pretty good too. I’m expecting Seb to beat Kimi next year, he will be better in qualy (track position advantage), and they’ll be about equal in races.

        2. What I’m really intrigued to see now is Ricciardo against Alonso @kingshark: we know that Vettel has been having a bit of an off season, so the comparison isn’t fully representative, so how good really is Daniel?

          1. @vettel1 Dan is as good as Seb I think. 2 of his 3 victories can’t be explained by “luck”

          2. Not fully, no. Though I do think he was very fortunate to beat Vettel in Canada – it transpired he was on the unfavourable end of pit strategy.

    3. i hope he doesnt go to ferrari there car have been crappy for the past few years and specially this year while there is still some hope for mclaren with the honda engine

      1. @aqibqadeer What if he goes to McLaren? Where will Alonso go? Lotus?

        1. @jcost i couldnt care less where alonso goes

    4. But first, half a decade of relentless fights against superior cars! Wait, didnt Alonso just do it?

    5. @vettel1 He’s going to Ferrari, why else he wore a red helmet for the first time in his f1 career, just joking. I think it was clear that he had something for Ferrari because of his thing for Schumacher and the fact that he chose the #5 as his career number. I think Lewis is also going to emulate his hero by joining McLaren-Honda, now Alonso, he can choose.

    6. @vettel1

      The most effective way for Vettel to have cemented his reputation (and essentially prove that 2014 was just a blip for him) would have been to stay at red bull and try to turn his form around to convincingly beat Ricciardo in 2015.

      By leaving people will always question his ability in relation to Ricciardo (look at how people speculated at whether Di Resta would’ve performed against him after Di Resta beat him in a lower category years ago). He must know these questions will remain. But perhaps knowing that certain drives only become available every once in a while, he felt he had to jump at the chance now.

      He really does have to have great success at the next team to really get the question marks left behind after this season to fade away.

      1. I think his hand may have been forced by Alonso honestly. I was expecting the team changes to happen in 2016 @3dom.

  7. I am wondering if the reason seb isn’t publicly saying he moving to Ferrari, because its up to Ferrari to publicly announce there dropping a certain Fin for a big name driver again. after all its not seb’s place to hand kimi his marching papers. just a though it we wait for all the dust to settle.

    1. Kimi isn’t leaving anywhere. Alonso is.

    2. @crazycarts I think it’s Alonso emptying the seat, not Kimi. I Kimi will end his career next year and Ferrari will promote Jules Bianchi for the 2016 season.

      Maybe Marchione wants a brand new duo and dumps Kimi too.

  8. I can imagine how it went – Ferrari is restructuring, ALO wasn’t happy with the changes, ALO got out, Ferrari knocked on VETs door, VETs contract has the clause for him leaving this year and the offer was too good to refuse. And RBR just got ahead of the PR train to get some press out of this.

    1. @tmf42 Press? ‘Our 4-time world champion, the guy who delivered somewhat 80% of all our wins, is leaving the team because our car is not that competetive.’?

      1. @xtwl that effect you mentioned would have been much higher if Ferrari had announced the move and not RBR who went ahead controlling it from their end.

    2. @tmf42 another big surprise was Red Bull not choosing either Alonso or JEV for Seb’s seat… the good thing is Sainz Jr will probably join Toro Rosso once it’s clear that Red Bull teams are not into fishing anywhere else but their own sea.

      Because I’m half Portuguese, I’d love to see Felix da Costa at Toro Rosso but I can’t see it coming…

      1. @jcost I have a feeling RBR did not ‘choose’ FA because FA has no interest in going there. What would draw him there, with Newey removing himself from as strong a role there, and given their current form and Renault’s?

  9. Interesting news. I think he’s heading to McLaren. Petr Prodromu and he worked well together and PP delivers the pointy front biased cars that Seb loves. I suspect Alonso is trying to muscle in on the action simply because He and Ferrari have fallen out of love

  10. I think that he hinted that he could leave and had known what he would like to do in future for some time ago. Maybe this was the hint “We have to remember these days,” said Vettel over his team radio on his slow-down lap. “We have to enjoy them while they last.” Austin 2013.

    1. @nidzovski I’m not so sure. If Red Bull and/or Renault had been the class of the field and Vettel had made it 5 in a row and Adrian Newey was working on the 2015 car I think he would have found it very much harder to decide to leave. Whilst I’m sure he’s right that the poor performance of Red Bull this year was not “the reason” for leaving I think it helped make the decision since he knows Merc will likely be ahead again next year and perhaps Ferrari and RB have about an equal chance to catch up (and with Newey away perhaps Ferrari are the more likely contenders).

      1. @jerseyf1 I say he waited the right moment. I mean I can’t blame him. He extract the maximum from the opportunities that he had with Red Bull and still only a few people would rank him above Alonso and Hamilton, both of them switched teams in order to have new motivation and prove that the driver is the one who wins championships. I’ll put the money aside as I’m sure that they can add to decision not to make the decision. About next season, I would put my money on Mercedes of course as they have the fundamental solution to the new rules and resources to keep developing forward. If they however drop in form, that would be the Ross Brown factor involved. It would be tight between Red Bull and Ferrari as the first has great chassis but are not works team as is Ferrari. Bulls had a lot of departures from the dream team, and on the other hand Ferrari had a “few” of them to. But Ferrari IMO filtered and strengthen the team, opposite to Red Bull who lost good man thus weakened great base that they had. McLaren is a big unknown for now to have any opinion on them. We will see. It very very interesting future :)

  11. I really hope he isnt going to ferrari mclaren might be a better option specially with peter prodromou there and as they are promising to be at mercedes level but ferrari have already said that it would take longer for them to get back in championship winning though anything can happen ofcourse

  12. Vettel will try to do the same as Schumacher: bringing the Scuderia back at the front. But with the current restrictive regulations that will be very difficult indeed.

  13. I think he looked at red bull losing some key people, Adrian newey taking more of a back seat & his race engineer (Guillaume Rocquelin) been moved to another role within the team & that this all helped him make the decision.

    I also believe he looked at the new power units & perhaps believes that Renault won’t catch up (There V10/V8’s were also always a bit down on power compared to others since they came back in 2001 remember) & that while Ferrari’s engine program is behind this year they stand a better chance at catching the Mercedes power unit given how building everything themselfs (Like Mercedes) will allow for more integration between Chassis/Power unit.

    And there is always the fact that Ferrari is a special team given there history & that most (If not all) drivers often express an interest in racing for Ferrari.

    Going to Ferrari & winning races/championships will also of course silence the critics who have said for 4 years that he can’t win without Adrian Newey, Not that Vettel likely cares about the criticism.

    1. @stefmeister you make too many good points. Sshh :P
      I will however add to one of your points, I think that RBR’s stength has been its Aerodynamics, and no matter what percentage you attribute that to Newey, this years championship hasn’t been about the aero, its a new era of F1 that is dominated by engines. So…. Why go with Renault who seem to always be slightly underpowered, like you said, and perhaps try Ferrari, who have always been better at engines than aero.

  14. Just as I was beginning to like Seb, he goes and joins Ferrari… So now I have two of my favourite drivers at my least favourite team, and my least favourite driver on the grid set to join my favourite team. Great.

    1. Pretty much the same here ^^

  15. Extraordinary decision from Vettel. Red Bull could easily have a championship winning car next year, if Renault get their power unit up to scratch. Will Ferrari? I doubt it.

    1. Unless they’ll have the best chassis on the grid, I highly doubt it. Mercedes’ advantage is not just thanks to the engine, the chassis is great too. One big proof to sustain my opinion is that there’re other teams that have the same engine, but they’re still at least ~1second behind, depending on track. So, I hope I’m wrong, but I think next year it’ll be dominated by the Mercs again. Maybe not that much as this year, but I don’t see the other teams catching up completely OR Mercedes screwing up things for 2015 that much.

      1. @corrado-dub Mercedes have a clever way of packaging their engine that other teams will probably copy next year:

        If other teams copy it successfully, Mercedes’s dominance may be over quickly. As the engines become more equal, aero become more important. Red Bull are currently unmatched regarding aero, although the effect on the team of Newey’s ‘step back’ remains to be seen.

        1. (@jonathan189

          Red Bull are currently unmatched regarding aero, although the effect on the team of Newey’s ‘step back’ remains to be seen.

          This is a baseless claim. Mercedes dominated in circuits like Monaco and Singapore, there’s no evidence to suggest that Red Bull are even on par with Merc in aero, let alone better.

          1. @kingshark I mean they are unmatched among Mercedes’s competitors. I agree it’s hard to tell where they are vis-a-vis Mercedes itself.

          2. @jonathan189
            I somewhat agree with that, but how do you know that Red Bull have a better chassis than, say, Ferrari?

            Ferrari were just as fast around Singapore, and Alonso was 3 tenths faster today around Suzuka.

    2. @jonathan189 Not necessarily. Even if the Renault was on par with the Mercedes, Red Bull have lost a lot of back-room staff this year, most notably Adrian Newey taking a step back. I think things like this will have been taken into consideration when Vettel made this decision.

    3. Ferrari could become competitive, we simply don’t know. They have emulated Red Bull in having an all-overseeing lead designer in James Allison, and the management restructuring in my view is only a good thing – particularly on the note of Di Montezemolo, who has seen his best days I believe.

  16. Jonathan Sarginson
    4th October 2014, 10:03

    …things seem to be a little bit sour in F1 at the moment…what with all the silly rule changes brought on by Bernie Ecclestone…Andrian Newey clearly unhappy and leaves to design the Infiniti Red Bull Nissan LMP1H car for next year…all the upheavals at the Scuderia that have left Fernando with a bad taste in his mouth (was it the sour grapes he dished out?)…why is it that F1 is in such a mess whilst the WEC is going from strength to strength?..aren’t they both supposed to be run by the same FIA, or has Jean Todt taken a back seat in F1 and let Bernie run his own banking system?…

  17. Yeah, right…..

  18. Vettel was slowly becoming the number 2 driver at Red Bull, Ricciardo was the new favourite of the team management as he was when Webber was his teammate. Good choice.

    1. Trenthamfolk (@)
      4th October 2014, 18:19

      Doesn’t like the taste of his own medicine… Ferrari is not sure bet, and I’m surprised they’ll have him to be honest… especially over Alonso, unless Alonso wants to leave…

  19. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made the decision to seek a new challenge quite a while ago – maybe last year or even the year before. I’d imagine he decided to carry on with Red Bull so long as they were winning everything and now that things aren’t going so well, he’s decided to move on. So I’m inclined to believe him when he says it wasn’t a rash decision made after a small rough patch. But there’s no doubt that the results (or lack of) made his decision on when to leave a lot easier. Put it this way, there’s no way he’d be leaving if Red Bull were still dominating like last year.

    This reminds me a little of Valentino Rossi leaving Yamaha for Ducati a few years ago. He formed a dominant partnership with the team, then he ended up with some young upstart for a teammate and it wasn’t long before he found himself getting beaten by him. So he decides to seek out a new challenge elsewhere… I wonder if Vettel’s switch will be just as fruitless as Rossi’s. If it is Ferrari he goes to, he’ll have a tough job. It’s been 6 years since Ferrari last produced a car superior to the Red Bull, and Ferrari’s power unit is arguably the weakest. Despite all of Red Bull’s problems, they have been the second best team this year. It’s highly likely that wherever he ends up will be a step backwards.

  20. I think Vettel is leaving Red Bull because time after time again he is being humiliated by Ricciardo. As Alonso was in McLaren with Hamilton

    1. Agree. Vettel somehow looked incompetent and a total whiner….I did not like it. And theexcuse of “the car does not suit me…buaaahhhh” is just lame
      ALO was part of the LUCA team, so LUCA was fired …and naturally ALO has to go….just like on any other business.
      It seems a little harsh on ALO since he lost 1 title on bad team strategy and another title on unfortunate crashes (GRO in SPA) that at the end cost him dearly…

    2. Trenthamfolk (@)
      4th October 2014, 18:18


    3. There’s no doubt Ricciardo has done the better job, but worth bearing in mind is that Vettel had borne the brunt of the reliability troubles in the crucial early stages development phase. That is not to excuse him from being beaten, but to highlight that the gap realistically isn’t as big as it looks.

      1. VET was angry with a team that GAVE HIM the best car in the grid in at least 3 of the 4 championships.
        I think she became a prima dona this year,

  21. Trenthamfolk (@)
    4th October 2014, 18:17

    I have asked myself if ‘the finger’ would be leaving RBR if he was winning the world championship, and I can’t believe that he would… so this is ALL the slump. His hand has been forced because if he hung about another year at RBR and was routinely humiliated by RIC again, no-one would have him (Ok, perhaps Caterham). Not about the slump my asre..

  22. It’s not because of the team’s problems, it’s because of his own problems. He didn’t want to be teammates with Ricciardo for another season.

  23. This is a natural step for Vettel. As a matter in fact I think it is a step that will benefit both Vettel, Ferrari and F1.
    Ferrari is rebuilding, diMontezemolo, Domenicali, Marmoni and now Alonso are gone. Mattiacchi is boss for now, but is he the “cleaning boy” or the boss of Ferraris F1 team for years to come. I wouldn’t be surprized if a certain Ross Brawn returned to Maranello.
    The new team Ferrari sets out to build will emulate Todts team, not Domenicalis.
    A young multiple WDC from Germany that is a proven serial winner is the perfect ingredient. And Vettel needs a new challenge to motivate him now. The challenge of bringing Ferrari back to winning ways is perfect for him. I’m sure he will succeed where Alonso has failed. Vettel is the perfect Ferrari driver, create a car that suits him and he’s able to fine tune it to perfection. As a long standing Ferrari fan this was great news.
    I think people might be surprized by Ferraris competitiveness allready next year. As far as I can see Ferrari have shown signs of improving throughout 2014 despite messing up the engine. I suspect that is a sign of Allisons input and next years car will be all Allison. As for the power unit Ferrari probably made a strategic error. But if there is one thing Ferrari can it’s building engines. Expect rapid improvement from Ferrari.

    1. I`m not buying all of it, but some of it might be right. I do not think Red Bull set out to favor Ricciardo in 2014. But as winter testing progressed and Vettels bad luck piled up the priority probably shifted, and that is totally unaccepteble to a 4-time champion. The fact that Red Bull would have been very aware that Vettel had an get-out clause and was moving closer and closer on a personal level to opt for a Ferrari drive will also have helped Red Bull choosing to give Ricciardo priority.
      As for the faulty chassis I was pretty sure something was going on. You just don`t exchange several chassis unless there is something wrong. A loss of trust is the natural consequence when a team does not back their driver when these things happen. To Vettels credit he has not said or done anything to put Red Bull in a bad light. That is an important character trait he`s going to need at Ferrari and one Alonso didn`t have. For me that is the main reason Ferrari wanted Alonso out, he put himself and his ego higher than Ferrari. That sealed his fate at Ferrari, in the end enought persons with enough power in the organization had enough. And suddenly Alonso who hasn`t had a technical failiure for years have 2 in the span of weeks.. On top of that Raikkonen suddenly found his car more to his liking in Singapore.. Coincidence? I think not..
      You need to have total trust between team and driver to succeed in F1, once that trust is broken it`s a slippery slope. Furhermore 2 of Ricciardos wins might just as well have been Vettels if the strategy or luck had worked out different.

      And finally, F1 is not about driving a mediocre car as fast as possible. It is all about being able to develop the best car in the field to suit you perfectly to win Championships. Any driver that is happy to do the best with what he has and prides himself in doing his best will be found wanting. As Coulthard said about Hakkinen: “There were toimes when I was faster than Hakkinen, but when it really mattered and we had a race- and championshipwinning car Mika was always faster than me.”. It`s about the ability to accomplish perfection and use that to your advantage..

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