Ferrari thinks Vettel still 'passionate' about F1 as he considers 2021 options

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Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto still thinks Sebastian Vettel is "passionate" about Formula 1 as he considers his options for 2021.

Last week it was announced the four-time world champion would be departing the Scuderia at the end of this year, with McLaren's Carlos Sainz then announced as his replacement.

This decision came after a tricky two years which saw mistakes at critical times and the arrival and emergence of Charles Leclerc as the man to lead Ferrari into the future.

“I think it was the right thing for him and for us,” Binotto said speaking with Sky Italia.

“Only Seb knows what he will do in the future. He's a great driver and he'll make the right choice.

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“He spent six years at Ferrari and the team has a special place in his heart. We have a good relationship with him, which isn't to be taken for granted when there's a parting of ways," he added.

“There's a mutual understanding of the reasoning behind this change.

“As for Vettel's future, I think he's so passionate about this sport. He'll want to get back into it, although he'll have a few things to think about. We're looking at a long-term project.”

As it stands, the 32-year-old's most likely option to stay in F1 appears to be Renault after Daniel Ricciardo switched to McLaren, while the potential to form a dream-team with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes can't be totally ruled out.

Writing in his Unibet column, double world champion Mika Hakkinen reflected on the position Vettel finds himself in and the several factors he'll need to consider.

"Sebastian has a big decision to make about his future," the ex-McLaren driver declared. "He was not considering retirement, but he will now have to look at what other options are available in 2021 and 2022.

"[He will also have to] consider how he feels about the job of remaining a F1 driver, especially if he is unable to drive for a winning team.

"Although he is only 33 this year, he made his debut in F1 at a very young age - 19 - and I am sure that when you start so young, it also becomes more difficult to maintain the high energy levels you need to stay at the top of this sport," the Finn noted.

"As a competitive driver used to winning races and going for the World Championship you always know when your energy level starts to drop and your absolute commitment starts to go away.

"Personally I would like to see him continue as he remains a quick driver and a great ambassador for Formula 1, but only he can make the final decision.

"He will know in his heart what the right decision is," Hakkinen concluded.