Sebastian Vettel has confirmed he is quitting Infiniti Red Bull Racing, the team that helped him secure his four Formula One World Championship titles, at the end of the current season. Vettel hasn’t confirmed his next move but comments from team principal Christian Horner suggest the German will end up at Ferrari.
"Red Bull and I have had an incredible run together," Vettel said during a press conference following today’s Japanese Grand Prix. "I'm leaving a very happy place and of course it's difficult but at some point you want to do something different.”
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Horner said Vettel only made his decision known to the team on Friday during preparations for the weekend’s race. He also revealed that Ferrari is the team Vettel will end up at, possibly paving the way for the repeat of German-Italian dominance in F1 during the Michael Schumacher era.
"Obviously Ferrari have made him a very attractive offer," Horner told media.
Red Bull has since confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo will be the team’s lead driver and that Vettel’s replacement next season will be Russian driver Daniil Kvyat, who is currently with Red Bull feeder team Toro Rosso. It’s not clear who Vettel will replace at Ferrari though it’s largely expected that he will take Fernando Alonso’s seat. The Spaniard is rumored to be making a return to McLaren next season.
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Vettel is expected to confirm his future plans shortly.
"I'm not leaving because I don't like the team nor because I don't like individuals nor the situation, I'm not running away from anything—it felt like the right time and the voice inside me and hunger to do something new was bigger," Vettel said during today’s press conference. "So, even though it's not the easiest decision to live with, you have to listen to your heart and go in your direction.