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September 11, 2020

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Vettel replaces Perez at Aston Martin

Four-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel will drive for Racing Point starting next season.

The team, which will be renamed Aston Martin, announced the move yesterday, a day after driver Sergio Perez said he was on his way out. The team said Vettel has signed for the 2021 season “and beyond” but did not reveal the length of the contract.

“The signing of Sebastian is a clear statement of the team’s ambition to establish itself as one of the most competitive names in the sport,” the team said in a statement. “As a four-time world champion, Sebastian brings a fresh mindset to the team.”

One of the most successful drivers in F1, Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of this season after he was not offered a new contract. He will be replaced by McLaren driver Carlos Sainz at Ferrari next year.

Vettel has won 53 Grand Prix races, a tally only surpassed by Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton. He won four consecutive titles with Red Bull from 2010-13 and joined Ferrari in 2015 with the aim to win another.

But the German never had a car really capable of challenging Mercedes during his stint with the Scuderia, where he lost his No. 1 status as teammate Charles Leclerc came to prominence.

“It’s a new adventure for me with a truly legendary car company,” Vettel, 33, said. “I have been impressed with the results the team has achieved this year and I believe the future looks even brighter. I still have so much love for Formula 1 and my only motivation is to race at the front of the grid.”

Perez only found out on Wednesday that he was no longer wanted.

“Nobody told me anything, but I already knew and figured out a couple of things. Final confirmation came yesterday,” he said. “It’s fine. Seven years with the team, I know everything has a beginning and also an end. We still have nine races to make each other proud.”

The 30-year-old Mexican, who has eight career podiums, is in his prime and among the quickest drivers on his day. He has been linked with a move to either Alfa Romeo — with 40-year-old Kimi Raikkonen tipped to finally retire next year — or Haas.

Both those cars run on the flagging Ferrari engine, however, and may not be competitive in 2021.

“I think everything is an option right now. My main target is to remain in F1. I feel that I’m still very young and hungry, and want to carry on,” Perez said. “But it has to be the right package, a package that really gives me the maximum motivation to give my 100 percent every single lap.”

Currently fourth in the constructors’ standings, Racing Point was handed a 400,000-euro (US$470,000) fine and docked 15 points last month for copying a Mercedes design for its brake ducts. The team, however, was allowed to continue to use the offending components this season.

Racing Point’s other driver is Canadian Lance Stroll, the son of co-owner Lawrence Stroll.


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