When Sebastian Vettel received the unexpected phone call from Mattia Binotto informing him Ferrari would not be extending his contract beyond 2020, he found himself at an unexpected crossroads.
For Vettel, the path had seemed obvious. Despite the tension that had brewed through 2019 amid Charles Leclerc's emergence, and the five-year deal his young team-mate was rewarded with for his fine start to life at Maranello, Vettel still felt a new contract offer for himself seemed likely.
But Ferrari had other ideas. Talks were never opened, the Scuderia's focus instead shifting to signing Carlos Sainz Jr from McLaren, thus making Leclerc the new team leader and the man on whom it wanted to stake its future.