Following the shock announcement last night on the departure of Sergio Perez at the end of the year, Racing Point F1 Team has announced that four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel will be joining the team “from 2021 and beyond”, as the team rebrands to Aston Martin F1 Team.
Being one of the most accomplished drivers on the grid with 57 pole positions, 53 Grand Prix wins and 67 podium finishes to his name, the Silverstone-based team says that the addition of Vettel “is a clear statement of the team’s ambition to establish itself as one of the most competitive names in the sport.”
“I am pleased to finally share this exciting news about my future,” said the 33-year old German. “I’m extremely proud to say that I will become an Aston Martin driver in 2021. It’s a new adventure for me with a truly legendary car company. I have been impressed with the results the team has achieved this year and I believe the future looks even brighter.
“The energy and commitment of Lawrence [Stroll] to the sport is inspiring and I believe we can build something very special together. I still have so much love for Formula 1 and my only motivation is to race at the front of the grid. To do so with Aston Martin will be a huge privilege.”
Racing Point CEO and Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer added: “Everybody at Silverstone is hugely excited by this news. Sebastian is a proven champion and brings a winning mentality that matches our own ambitions for the future as Aston Martin F1 Team.
”On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, Sebastian is one of the best in the world, and I can’t think of a better driver to help take us into this new era. He will play a significant role in taking this team to the next level.”
Word around the paddock was that the German has been in talks with Racing Point team owner Lawrence Stroll since Ferrari’s decision to release him at the end of the year – which resulted in a domino effect with Carlos Sainz moving to Ferrari and Daniel Ricciardo taking the spot in McLaren.
However, it didn’t look like there was a spot in Racing Point/Aston Martin available for Sebastian Vettel, as Sergio Perez was still in a multi-year deal with the team which was supposed to run until the end of 2022, while the second driver in the team is, well, Lawrence Stroll’s son – Lance Stroll.
Following the announcement, Sergio Perez – who has been with the many iterations of the team for seven years – said in a statement that he currently has no “plan B” in terms of a drive for next year, though wishes that he will still be part of the sport.
With an uncompetitive Ferrari car, Sebastian Vettel is currently 13th in the Drivers’ Championship with just 16 points across eight races. His best finish this year was sixth at the Hungary Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez meanwhile is currently 11th in the standings with a car that has been heavily criticised as a direct copy of last year’s Mercedes. However, he only started in six races this year due to testing positive for nCoV-19 prior to the British Grand Prix.
The travelling F1 circus will be heading to Mugello Circuit, Italy this weekend for the Tuscan Grand Prix, where Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Team will be celebrating its 1,000th Grand Prix across the team’s illustrious history in the sport.
[Images: Formula 1]