Mugello (dpa) – Sebastian Vettel’s path to continue his Formula 1 career would now be clear. The Mexican Sergio Perez will empty his cockpit at Racing Point at the end of this year.
That should open the only remaining realistic exit after the end of the season for the four-time world champion. Since Vettel’s retirement from Ferrari at the end of the season, there has been guesswork and speculation about the 33-year-old’s future. “It’s quite normal that I think a lot,” said Vettel on the sidelines of the 999th Ferrari Grand Prix in Monza, asking for patience.
Things are on the move for Ferrari’s 1000th Formula 1 race in Mugello. After seven years, Perez is leaving Racing Point, formerly called Force India, and will start as the Aston Martin factory team from 2021. “Everything in life always has a beginning and an end,” the Mexican wrote on social media, “my time with the team will end after this season.” It was long believed that the 30-year-old would have to leave the racing team to make way for a driver with a very big name: Vettel next year.
Ferrari announced the end of the season for Hessen after six years in mid-May. Since then, Vettel has been discussing a possible new engagement. Industry leader Mercedes waved his hand and referred to his driver duo Lewis Hamilton / Valtteri Bottas, Red Bull and young star Max Verstappen also closed the door. Renault secured the services of returnees and two-time champion Fernando Alonso from next season.
Aston Martin wants to attack in 2021 and needs a top executive among the drivers. That could be Vettel. After joining BMW-Sauber in Formula 1 in 2007, he joined Ferrari through Toro Rosso and Red Bull. At Scuderia, he has not been able to build on the successes at Red Bull since 2015. Vettel does not just want to follow behind in Formula 1, he recently emphasized. At Aston Martin, unlike the lame Ferrari, he could compete for top places this year in 2021.
In the Aston Martin factory team, which will continue to work with Mercedes and will be supplied by the German carmaker, only Lance Stroll will remain after Perez’s departure. The 21-year-old is the son of co-owner Lawrence Stroll, a Canadian billionaire, and recently raced to second place at Monza. Perez says he has no “plan B” for the next season. The reliable Mexican has long been traded as a candidate with Haas and Alfa Romeo.