Date: 6th October 2014 at 12:07pm
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Sebastian Vettel has insisted that his decision to leave Red Bull Racing is not down to his poor 2014 season.

The German driver has been backed by the Red Bull development programme since he was 12.

15 years later Vettel is now 27-years-old and a four-time Formula One World Champion after taking the drivers titles in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Over his career he has taken 39 victories [38 with Red Bull and 1 with Toro Rosso] in 135 starts.

He has stood on the podium 66 times and taken 45 pole positions.

But despite his dominance in recent years, many have questioned his true ability.

He was obviously better than former team-mate, Australian Mark Webber, but was his performance over the rest of the Formula One grid down to his driving ability or the design of Adrian Newey’s Red Bull?

Many experts said he had to prove himself at another team, whilst the emergence of Daniel Ricciardo has also put question marks over Vettel.

This season, during his first campaign with Red Bull Racing, Ricciardo has won three Grand Prix, whilst Vettel’s best finish has been a second place in Singapore.

Ricciardo holds a 54-point lead over Vettel in the championship, a championship that Vettel can no longer mathematically win, even with double-points in Abu Dhabi.

With his legacy seemingly on the line, Vettel looks set to switch Red Bull for Ferrari, taking Fernando Alonso’s seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen.

That move is yet to be confirmed, but his departure from Red Bull has been.

So is he running away from the fight with Daniel Ricciardo?

Is he leaving Red Bull Racing now that they are no longer dominant in F1?

Is he keen to show he can deliver for another team?

‘I’m not leaving because I don’t like the team or individuals. I’m not running away from anything. Vettel told the BBC on Saturday after qualifying in Japan.

‘The voice inside, the hunger to do something new, was bigger.’

‘It is a tough step after such a long time together with Red Bull, After so many fantastic years, I did and still am enjoying my time, but at some stage in life you want to do something else, something new. It is not the first time I have been approached but it felt like the right time.’

‘It is not a decision based on current results, A decision like that does not happen overnight. It is always a big step when a relationship like that comes to an end. But there is nothing negative in the air. That is what made the decision so difficult for me.’