Binotto stands by decision to drop Vettel

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has defended his decision to drop four time world champion Sebastian Vettel from the team's line-up in 2021.

Vettel will depart Maranello after six seasons with the team, which saw him finish as the runner-up in the drivers championship in 2017 and 2018.

But after a poor run in 2019, Vettel was told his contract would not be extended. His place will be taken by current McLaren driver Carlos Sainz, while Vettel heads to Racing Point when it's rebranded as Aston Martin.

Binotto said he was pleased that Vettel had been able to find a new seat that allowed him to stay in F1 and remain competitive.

"The fact that we decided very early and we communicated to him very early was to give him a chance to find a seat," he told the official Formula 1 website. "The fact that he found a seat is a success as well for us.

"I’m very happy for him as a driver, as a person," he added. "And happy for Formula 1, because I think that retaining Sebastian in the circus is important. I think it’s a great result.”

And Binotto said that he was "very excited" by the prospect of Sainz joining the team at the end of the year and pairing up with Charles Leclerc.

"We made our choice, and I think we made the right choice," he said. "I’m very pleased with Carlos joining the team, very pleased with our line-up.

"Both of them are very young, starting to have some experience,” he continued.

And he said that it was the team's need to look at the long term future rather than just the next season was one of the main reasons for the decision to split with 33-year-old Vettel in preference to the 26-year-old Sainz.

"We’re looking not only for a victory but for a long cycle, creating solid foundations," he explained.

"When you’re trying to create solid foundations and basing it on a young team, not only engineers, technicians but drivers, it’s the choice [you should be making]."

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