Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto has responded to claims that Sebastian Vettel left Ferrari because of his former teammate Charles Leclerc.

When the news that Vettel was parting ways with Ferrari was announced, it sent the F1 community into a state of shock. Many believed the German and former world champion was leaving due to tension with Leclerc.

In 2019, they didn’t have the best of relationships, and their crash in Brazil only added to the problem.

However, Binotto insisted that wasn’t the case at all. When asked on RaceFans about the circumstances behind Vettel’s exit, Binotto was quick to absolve Leclerc of any blame.

Vettel: "Aston Martin have given me a warm welcome" - F1 Track Talk
Sebastian Vettel (pictured) now hones his craft at Aston Martin. Source: f1tracktalk.com

“No, no, no, what happened in 2019 was not the reason,” Binotto said. “When we had the lockdown at the start of last year, it was the time for us to decide (on the team’s drivers for the next season).

“It was even more important to decide very soon, simply out of full respect to ourselves, and to Sebastian to give him the opportunity to find another seat. The fact that today he’s driving for Aston Martin, I’m very happy with that,” Binotto assured.

New challenge for Vettel

Vettel’s departure from Ferrari saw him join Aston Martin for the 2021 season. He has struggled to adapt to the new car for the most part. However, at the Monaco Grand Prix, Vettel clinched a fantastic P5, showing there is plenty left in him. He collected ten points, which was his first haul this season.

As F1 touches down in Baku for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Vettel has momentum on his side. He will look to build on it and snag crucial points, both for himself and for his team. He will also want to silence critics who said his Monaco performance was a one-off.

We are excited to see the veteran drive at pace on the streets of Baku.

Read more: Lance Stroll has a ‘political’ advantage over Sebastian Vettel: Jacques Villeneuve

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