Red Bull Racing have confirmed that their four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel will be leaving the team at the end of this season, bringing to a close an eight year association with the Milton Keynes-based squad. He will be replaced by Toro Rosso's Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat.
After two years with the Toro Rosso junior team, where he famously won in the pouring rain at Monza in 2008, and six with the marquee Red Bull squad, where he won consecutive World Championships between 2010-2013, Vettel has decided to move on to pastures new.
The move also means the end of Red Bull's famous trio of team principal Christian Horner, design guru Adrian Newey, and star driver Vettel. Newey had already said he was stepping down from his F1 role in 2015, and now with Vettel's leaving, it means that only Horner remains of the core group who were so influential in Red Bull's success.
The move will leave popular Australian Daniel Ricciardo as the team's de-facto leader, with boss Horner hoping that lightning will strike twice and Kvyat will be able to echo his new team-mate's debut-season success.
The consensus in the pitlane seems to be that Vettel will wind up at Ferrari next season as Kimi Raikkonen's team-mate, with the disgruntled Fernando Alonso moving on to pastures new himself in one of the biggest driver shakeups in a generation (read more here).
It is also unclear where this leaves Jean-Eric Vergne. With Kvyat's promotion coming at short notice, Toro Rosso may now act to keep the 'veteran' Vergne on board to mentor the incoming 17-year old Max Verstappen. Should they still elect to allow Frenchman Vergne to leave, then it would mean that either GP3 leader Alex Lynn or, more likely, Formula Renault 3.5 leader Carlos Sainz Jr would get the call up to race for Red Bull's junior team next season.
Either way, the news of Vettel's defection and Kvyat's promotion has rocked the F1 grid. Keep checking back over the weekend as the story develops at the Japanese Grand Prix.