Outgoing Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has revealed telling Sebastian Vettel his time with the Scuderia was to end was the “most difficult task” of his F1 career.
Vettel joined Ferrari in 2015 and pushed for the drivers’ championship in 2017 and 2018, albeit falling short of repeating the turnaround hero Michael Schumacher had achieved with Ferrari.
Ahead of a testing 2020 season, what would eventually prove to be the Scuderia’s worst for 40 years, Vettel was informed his contract with the team would not be renewed.
Moving on to Aston Martin, the four-time F1 champion spent two seasons with the Silverstone-based marque before retiring at the end of the past campaign, leaving behind one of the greatest legacies of the modern F1 era.
Addressing Vettel’s departure, Binotto conceded the discussion with Vettel to announce his departure was the most challenging of his tenure, which ends on December 30 after announcing his resignation at the end of November.
“Sebastian is a great, great driver and I don't think it's myself telling it, it's really what he has achieved - fantastic, outstanding, amazing,” said Binotto.
“As Ferrari, we were lucky to have him as part of the team for six important years. He brought a lot as a driver but more than that, he brought a lot as a person and each single Ferrari fan still loves Sebastian.
“That's a matter of fact, and as each single fan still loves Ferrari, we in Ferrari, all the people in Ferrari, are still loving him and that's the way we are feeling.
“They were incredible years. Difficult for myself, coming to the end, to announce to him that we would not renew [his contract].
"That maybe has been the most difficult task I've done myself through my career because when you love such a person and you really enjoy working with him, it's always difficult to come to the end and take a decision to announce it.
“It was an important moment as well for my career because from that, through difficulties, you become stronger. But it’s the one we will remember as the most difficult one.”