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Ferrari's Vettel mocks rumour he's quitting F1 now 2019 is over

Autosport logo Autosport 02/12/2019 Scott Mitchell
Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel waves at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, ahead of the final race of the season, on December 1, 2019. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images) Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel waves at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, ahead of the final race of the season, on December 1, 2019. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has mocked a rumour he has heard that he will quit Formula 1 now the 2019 season has ended.

The Ferrari driver has a deal that runs until the end of 2020 but there has been speculation over his future since the start of this year, ahead of his first campaign alongside rising star Charles Leclerc.

That has been compounded by a difficult season in which Vettel made mistakes, whereas Leclerc scored Ferrari's first victory of the year, won the team's home race at Monza, scored more poles than any driver and beat Vettel in the championship.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 01: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talk before the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on December 01, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images) © 2019 Getty Images ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 01: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talk before the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on December 01, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

However, after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he finished fifth, Vettel brought up a rumour he was poised to leave F1 when asked if he had any idea about what he would like to do from 2021 onwards, once his current deal has expired.

Vettel smiled and said "holiday" and then, unprompted, added: "I think I was already doing a holiday next year.

a man riding a snowboard down a snow covered slope: Vettel mocks rumour he's quitting F1 © LAT Images Vettel mocks rumour he's quitting F1 "I heard before that I'm stopping.

"I don't know who was the one [to start the rumour], but seems they know more than me.

"Since I guess you journalists are always right, it will hit me probably in the next weeks."

a red race car on display: Vettel mocks rumour he's quitting F1 © LAT Images Vettel mocks rumour he's quitting F1

Vettel only won one race in 2019, the Singapore Grand Prix, and he was aided by Ferrari's strategy favouring him over team-mate Leclerc, who had been in control of the race from pole.

He scored another eight podiums over the season, including second in Canada having finished first on the road before being relegated by a time penalty, and Vettel's results amounted to fifth in the championship - his worst result since joining Ferrari in 2015.

But on Sunday night in Abu Dhabi, Vettel underlined his intentions to continue in 2020, even joking that "less interviews will help!".

Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel steers his car at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, during the final race of the season, on December 1, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images) Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel steers his car at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, during the final race of the season, on December 1, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images) Vettel added: "That's all part of the negotiations for next year, before any other negotiations."

The 32-year-old did seriously address his season and areas he wishes to improve for 2020 but responded mischievously again when asked to comment on speculation linking Ferrari with Mercedes' world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Like Vettel, Hamilton is out of contract after next season, and over the Abu Dhabi weekend one report claimed he had met with Ferrari's chairman during this campaign, while Vettel's team boss Mattia Binotto said Hamilton's availability could only make Ferrari "happy".

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 30: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari prepares to drive in the garage during final practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 30, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) © 2019 Getty Images ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 30: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari prepares to drive in the garage during final practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 30, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) However, asked for his response, Vettel simply referred to Hamilton's ownership of Ferrari road cars.

"I think he's already a Ferrari driver," said Vettel. "No? So no change.

"I think he's a good customer. He owns more than one."

Gallery: Sports pictures of the month: November 2019 [Photos]

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