Date: 22nd December 2014 at 11:53am
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Sebastian Vettel ends 2014 as a Ferrari driver after leaving Red Bull Racing at the end of last season.

The four-time Formula One World Champion had been heavily linked with a move to Ferrari for a number of years, but whilst the German was consistently winning in the dominant Red Bull he was never going to consider leaving.

The 27-year-old had been part of the Red Bull Racing set-up for 15-years, but any element of potential loyalty ended when the news was broken that he would replace Fernando Alonso at Ferrari for 2015.

‘The timing was right for Sebastian. He’d had a great run with us. He’d been with Red Bull since 12 years of age.

‘He’s won four world championships, 39 grands prix, 45 pole positions and I think he felt: ‘I’ve reached 27 years of age. I don’t want to end my career without having driven for Ferrari and I have a great opportunity to go there.’

‘The lure of Ferrari for any driver is immensely powerful.’
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner told the BBC.

But after a wonderful four year period, Vettel’s 2014 was mediocre.

In 2013, Vettel had won 13 races and stood on the podium in every race with the exception of a fourth place finish in China and a retirement a the British Grand Prix.

In 2014, Vettel stood in the podium just four times, with a season best second coming in Singapore, whilst team-mate Daniel Ricciardo stood on the podium nine times [later disqualified in Australia], winning three Grand Prix.

Vettel finished the 2014 Formula One World Championship fifth on 167 points, whilst Ricciardo finished third on 238.

Speaking about Vettel’s final season with Red Bull Racing he added: ‘he got very frustrated the car wasn’t doing what he wanted it to do and of course to compound that his team-mate is winning a couple of races and performing at the level he was.’

According to Horner, he believes much of this is down to the change in regulations and the loss of exhaust-influenced rear aerodynamic grip from previous years.

‘The rule changes were significant and the two guys who seem to have been affected most are Seb and Kimi [Raikkonen] and I think taking away the rear downforce has actually been a big factor for Sebastian, He is such a ‘feel’ driver that some of those feelings had been muted and it dumbed down some of his performance.’