Speaking ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix for the first time since it was announced he would be leaving Ferrari at the end of the season, Vettel offered some fresh light on the circumstances surrounding his departure.
Disaster for Sebastian Vettel as that he exits Austrian GP qualifying in Q2.
"It was obviously a surprise to me when I got the call from Mattia and when he told me that there was no further intention for the team to continue", he said.
Leclerc scraped through to the final stage of qualifying in 10th before ultimately finishing seventh in Q3, trailing cars from Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Racing Point. I wasn't quite happy with the auto, it had more oversteer on entry than I would like.
Vettel told Ferrari over the team radio his auto was "undriveable", meaning he was ultimately just relieved to come through the race relatively unscathed.
Charles Leclerc has downplayed Ferrari's chances of challenging for the Formula One title in 2020, saying he is all but certain its current auto is a step down on its predecessor.
Binotto reiterated on Friday that over the cold temperatures Vettel was indeed the team's first choice, nevertheless the crisis and the rule changes that came with it triggered an adjustment of plan.
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"It was a disappointing race for me, even if we knew beforehand it would be tough", said Vettel of his afternoon.
"It's normal that during the winter time many drivers ask us if there are any opportunities to drive for Ferrari, so we have certainly been contacted". Seb and Charles ran just the Medium tyres, working on set up at first.
"Let's say that the entire situation has changed", said the Ferrari boss. More oversteer on entry than I would like.
"But Ferrari have got to quickly improve the situation otherwise it they face a very hard season".
A statement from the team on Monday said that it was flat out with development work at Maranello: "In the hope of bringing forward to next weekend the introduction of the aerodynamic package scheduled for the Hungarian Grand Prix - or, at least, some of its components".
Despite the obvious tensions in the camp given the impending split, Binotto was keen to praise Vettel and the contribution he has made over the years.
"I think I have a very competitive nature". He's a great champion, but he's as well a great person. "I think it's a shame because today would have been important to score points, especially when our direct competitors could not". You have to be aware of the decision you are making at the time and that's also why I'm not rushing into anything.