As speculation reaches its peak over where on the Formula 1 grid Sebastian Vettel is likely to emerge for the 2021 season, it’s been reported extensively by Italian press that the former champion is heading to Racing Point.
Gazzetta dello Sport has reported that the German driver has inked a US$15million three-year contract deal with the squad to replace Sergio Perez, with the news to be announced at next weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The outlet added that the news was initially meant to be unveiled between the two Grand Prix events held recently at Silverstone, only for the announcement to be put on ice in the wake of the news that Perez had contracted the Covid-19 virus.
The news is no forgone conclusion, with German outlet Speedweek reporting that Perez and his backers are in the midst of launching a financial counter-attack in the hopes of allowing the Mexican driver to remain at the squad for an eighth consecutive season.
Perez has been integral in building the team’s consistency since joining the squad under its former title, Sahara Force India, back in 2014. The 30-year-old has never finished outside the top 10 for the team, with a best championship result of seventh in 2016 and 2017.
Despite having missed two Grand Prix events due to Covid-19 contraction, Perez looks set to keep that record alive. He currently sits eighth in the points, three spots shy of teammate Lance Stroll in fifth.
Both Perez and Stroll currently hold multi-year deals to race at Racing Point, but recent moves by Stroll’s father, Lawrence, to take over ownership of the team, place emphasis on the future of the former Castrol Toyota Racing Series champion. Perez, meanwhile, has been linked to a possible move to Red Bull.
“It’s clear who would have to go,” Perez said last month. “I’m a father too. I would certainly not kick my own son out of the house. But I can’t say much more about it. There are so many rumours swirling around at the moment. It doesn’t change anything for me. I have a contract.”
“I can’t do anything about the rumours about Vettel. The team has told me that we want to continue. My place seems safe.”