While the German admits departing the team with which he won four consecutive world championship crowns with was an extremely tough decision, he says the appeal of a new challenge and a new home proved too strong to resist - even if he cannot yet reveal where he is headed for 2015...
Q: Sebastian, there have long been rumours you could leave Red Bull for Ferrari - and now your departure at least is confirmed, which sent shockwaves through the paddock. No one throws away an association of 15 years so easily, so there must be a good reason for you to move on…
Sebastian Vettel: Probably because the attraction of doing something new was bigger than [it was] to stay.
Q: Fleeing the nest after 15 years with Red Bull is a major step. What does that mean for you?
SV: It means exactly that: a major step! It was my home and in fact you only move out of home once in your life - that is big. We had a fantastic time in those 15 years but sometimes it is also time to open a new chapter.
Q: How hard was it for you to go for the ‘new'?
SV: It felt very hard, because I am not leaving due to any issues. It clearly is a decision for something new, and not against the existing. But then you have to follow your inner voice. And that is not automatically the easier decision - but I hope it is the right one, and that wherever it takes me I will be happy with it.
Q: How long has this inner voice been speaking to you?
SV: It is not the first time that the opportunity for a change has come up. Right now it felt like the right time. The time that I had with Red Bull is something very, very special - hopefully this lasts until the end of the season.
Q: Would it have made any difference if Red Bull had a more competitive car?
SV: That is probably the way people look at it - but not the way I see it. I am not leaving because I don't like the situation. I am not running away from anything. As I just said: it felt like the right time. There was that hunger to do something new.
Q: Can we expect an announcement from Ferrari? Right now there is only the Red Bull press release stating your departure and Christian Horner saying that you will join Ferrari…
SV: I am sure that very soon there will be something to say - but not right now.
Q: Have you signed a contract with Ferrari?
SV: As I just said, I have nothing to announce right now, but it will not take too long.
Q: Could anything stand in your way of moving to Ferrari then, if you haven't signed a contract?
SV: I didn't say that. I just said that I cannot announce anything right now. What I can say is that I will definitely stay in Formula One and not go skiing or mountain biking.
Q: Are you aware that staying with Red Bull would very likely give you a better chance of winning races next year - and that Ferrari are more likely to be a long-term project?
SV: At the end of the day it doesn't really matter - as I said that it was the craving for something new; a new challenge! I am leaving in peace. Of course it hurts on one hand - but on the other it feels right as it means a new challenge.
Q: With the shock of your Red Bull departure, your Suzuka qualifying performance almost drops out of focus. Can you still say a word on it?
SV: Of course I am not really happy. We lacked some running in the morning and then it didn't seem that I was able to go with the track. I struggled more than I had expected in corners that I usually love. With rain on the way it should still turn into a good race - if there isn't then it will get tough for us. My ideal for the race would be that it rains enough tomorrow so that we can still race - but not enough that we might as well be swimming!