Vettel never considered early Ferrari exit despite 'sad' peformances

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Sebastian Vettel says he never considered leaving Ferrari early despite the "sad" level of performance in 2020.

The four-time world champion slipped to his worst ever championship position for a full season last year, finishing 13th with just 33 points across the 17 races.

This, after it was confirmed in May, before the delayed season even began, that Vettel would not be re-signed for 2021 and instead be replaced by Carlos Sainz.

"Of course, from that day on the signs for the new season were different than in previous years," Vettel told Swiss newspaper Blick. "But even sadder was the performances that were so bad this year.

"We didn't have a competitive car and sixth place in the Constructors' Championship will not go down in history at Ferrari either."

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"It was also clear to me that I still had to finish my job at Ferrari," Seb responded. "I am not a fan of shortcuts.

"The road simply had to end in Abu Dhabi. Even if we had certainly imagined the final to be different."

At the same time, however, Vettel was also having to consider his next career move.

"Since I no longer had a future at Ferrari, the question immediately arose: what are you doing in 2021? And since the main seats were all taken, I had to think for a long time. Of course, retiring wasn't ruled out," he explained.

"Formula 1 has been the focus of my life for over 10 years, but there are also many other and above all more important things in life than our sport.

"Nevertheless, I came to the conclusion that there was still something simmering inside of me and that's how I got in touch with the new Aston Martin team."

And after weeks of growing speculation, it was finally confirmed at Mugello the 33-year-old would join the Silverstone-based squad, replacing new Red Bull driver Sergio Perez.

“I’m very excited for what comes next," he declared. "I’m sad I leave the team [at Ferrari] but obviously that’s a decision that’s been taken some time ago and I take it as a man so there’s no problems with that.

“I hope, because I deeply care about this team, they will get back to grips, and Charles [Leclerc] will get the car he deserves, and for people like [sporting director] Laurent [Mekies], people in the garage, who are passionate, things will come together, but I’m excited for what comes next for me.

“Obviously it is a new chapter, a big start, and time will tell, but as I said I’ve learned - despite the poor results this year - I’ve learned a lot about myself and my future on track and off track.”