Racing Point, which will be renamed Aston Martin next year, would have liked to confirm the hiring of Sebastian Vettel in recent days in England, but due to the positive COVID-19 test suffered by Sergio Pérez last week last, the announcement was postponed.
At least that’s what reported The Gazzetta dello Sport in its Thursday edition, citing reliable sources.
According to the very credible Italian sports daily, the quadruple world champion would sign a three-year contract with this team, currently known as Racing Point and managed by the Quebec billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
Out of respect for the Mexican driver, who would lose his wheel at the end of the season, the team leaders have chosen to postpone this confirmation. But it now seems clear that Vettel will indeed be Lance Stroll’s teammate next season.
The publication also claims that the two sides began their discussions more than two months ago. The Ferrari team announced in May that the services of the 33-year-old German driver were no longer required in 2021 and that he will be replaced by Spaniard Carlos Sainz.
It is besides The Gazzetta dello Sport who first announced Vettel’s divorce from the Scuderia.
A rough route
Aston Martin not only wants to make Vettel one of its two titular drivers in F1, but also an ambassador for its brand of cars.
Several informed observers are nevertheless wondering about the recruitment of Vettel, whose star has faded in recent years.
Since the start of the current season, the German has only occupied 13th place in the drivers’ standings with a slim harvest of 10 points.
In four starts, his best result was a sixth place in Hungary. The last of his 53 F1 wins dates back to September 2019 at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Despite a car in sharp decline this year, his young teammate Charles Leclerc also made it look bad. The Monegasque has indeed managed to reach the podium twice in 2020.
A precious acquisition
As for Sergio Pérez, the fourth most experienced driver on the current grid in F1, he has proven to be a valuable acquisition for Racing Point.
The 30-year-old Mexican has been associated with this organization since 2014, when it was then called Force India. Reliable, he has built a solid reputation for regularly completing his races and amassing valuable points for his team.
Then, a significant aspect, its presence in F1 is accompanied by the financial participation of Mexican sponsors whose total contributions are estimated at around 15 million dollars.
Pérez’s contract is however valid until the end of the 2021 season, but a clause would allow Racing Point to terminate it obviously with monetary compensation.
Some media reported that once the July 31 date passed, Racing Point could no longer disassociate itself from the Mexican. What the team denied, however.
In place of Räikkönen?
But Pérez’s departure would not mean that he would be without a wheel next year.
It is reported that he is very likely to come to Alfa Romeo in place of veteran Kimi Räikkönen, who will be 41 in October. Without a steering wheel, the Finn would then have no choice but to retire from F1.
Räikkönen, 2007 world champion at the wheel of a Ferrari, is only six participations away from equaling the all-time record of 323 F1 starts held by Brazilian Rubens Barrichello.