Sebastian Vettel has put an end to the conjectures of where he will end up next season after unceremoniously being dumped by Ferrari, confirming today he will join Racing Point in 2021.
The team will be rebranded as Aston Martin next year and the confirmation of the four-time world champion’s signing follows less than 24 hours after Sergio Perez announced his exit from the team at the end of the current season.
“I am pleased to finally share this exciting news about my future,” said the 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.”
Vettel has been in discussion with Racing Point team owner Lawrence Stroll for several months, leading to increasing speculation he would make the switch to the team for 2021 and replace one of the two currently signed drivers.
The team are expecting to battle for victories when the new budget cap rules are imposed in 2022 and had wanted to have a driver in their team lineup they can rely upon to challenge up the front of the grid.
Perez was expected to stay on with Lance Stroll until 2022 where it was believed he was contracted to, but his announcement on the even of this weekend’s Tuscan Grand Prix paved the way for Vettel to slide into the vacant seat.
The German was open to a sabbatical or even retiring from the sport when it was confirmed his place at Ferrari had been filled by outgoing McLaren driver Carlos Sainz. But he continually underlined his ambitions to remain in the sport with a project he felt could challenge for victories.
Vettel has unquestionably struggled against younger teammate Charles Leclerc over the last two seasons and has seen two promising title attacks in 2017 and 2018 rapidly descend into disappointment.
However, Racing Point Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer believes Vettel remains one of the best drivers on the current grid and expects him to be a significant player in the team’s rise over the next few seasons.
“Everybody at Silverstone is hugely excited by this news,” said Szafnauer.
“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.”
This weekend’s Tuscan Grand Prix from Mugello will mark Ferrari’s 1000th race in F1 and Vettel will be sporting a celebratory livery for the event which kicks off from 9 pm NZT September 11.