No, 2020 will clearly not be Sebastian Vettel’s last season in Formula 1: the German plans to make resistance to be on the grid next year.
But no question for the quadruple world champion to go and bury himself in a mid-grid stable. He could land at … Racing Point, which will be called Aston Martin Racing in 2021!
Though his Ferrari stint has got less and less convincing, Vettel seems to have a dogged determination to stay in F1 and prove what he’s really about.
There’s been a theory around Vettel’s career for many years that as a driver who ‘did stuff early’ – his F1 debut, first win, first title – he would retire early as well.
But Vettel has made two things clear. First, that he is very keen to stay in F1 with the right project.
“I want to make sure I make the right decision for myself and my future,” he said recently. “I have a very competitive nature, I’ve achieved a lot in the sport and motivated and willing to achieve more.
“To do so I need the right package, the right people around me. That’s what I’m looking out for at the moment. If the right opportunity should arise it’s quite clear.”
And second, he’s since indicated that Racing Point could be a team that interests him, although he did dodge the part of the question that directly asked if it was an option for 2021.
“Independent from that I think Racing Point left a very strong impression and is certainly in a good place for this year,” he said.
“I know part of the team, I know some members of the team quite well from from my past and for a long time,.
“I think it’s obviously a good opportunity for them this year to have a good car to fight with and try and improve that from there.”
THE WILLINGNESS OF LAWRENCE STROLL TO PAY FOR A PREMATURE CONCLUSION TO THE DEAL
Sergio Perez does have a race contract with the team for 2021 and given his level of backing and the quality of his performances it would be a bizarre move to replace him while retaining the driver who is not at the same level.
The scope for this happening depends on the exact details of what will be a complicated contract covering the three-year deal that was signed, or the willingness of Lawrence Stroll to pay for a premature conclusion to the deal.
Perez and his backers would only be willing to leave for a better opportunity within F1, which on current form leaves very few possibilities as of the teams without two confirmed drivers the only ones that fit would be Mercedes and Red Bull!
But if Racing Point does oust Perez for Stroll, the second time it has weakened its driver line-up to ensure the owner’s son has a place after dropping Esteban Ocon for 2019, then it would undermine the credibility of the team’s ambitions.
There’s still a long way to go, but team principal Otmar Szafnauer recently set a three-year timescale for emerging as a team capable of fighting for race wins. With big investment, a new factory due to be moved into in August 2022, and an affiliation with a car manufacturer, Racing Point is a genuinely upwardly mobile team.
Vettel made clear ahead of last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix that he doesn’t want to race in F1 simply to make up the numbers. But while Racing Point won’t be in a position to win a race on outright pace next year (it is, however, currently quick enough to inherit a win if Mercedes and at least one Red Bull hits trouble), it could well be not far down the line.
Vettel turned 33 earlier this month so can afford to view this as a long-term project. Its current form shows good results are currently achievable and it’s not unrealistic to expect wins on the timeline Szafnauer laid out – a process of growth a driver of Vettel’s skill and experience could assist.
For a long time, Racing Point has punched above its weight in F1, with a well-run team, high-quality personnel and a formidable team culture. The financial heft is now being added, meaning Vettel could see it as a realistic route back to the front in F1.
And having struggled at times in the Ferrari environment, perhaps it could also help to get the best out of his prodigious talent.
While many assume Lance Stroll’s genealogical advantage means he has a job for life thanks to being the son of the team owner, the scale of the project means this cannot be guaranteed indefinitely. Lance is now in his fourth season of Formula 1, and while he has enjoyed some high points he’s yet to prove he can be consistently strong enough to match the ambition of the Aston Martin project.
Stroll Sr’s involvement in F1 may have started as a means to get Lance on the grid, but this stepped up a level when he led the consortium that saved what was previously Force India and his involvement became higher-stakes again once he bought into Aston Martin. He’s a businessman, and there may come a time when it’s the correct business decision to strengthen the driver line-up.
Despite Stroll outperforming Perez in wet qualifying in the Styrian Grand Prix, he was neither as fast nor as incisive as his team-mate in the dry. This cannot fail to build pressure on him.
Racing Point has also never formally confirmed Stroll as a race driver for 2021, instead only stating that his long-term deal does cover next season. There’s nothing preventing Stroll being found a place in another team while remaining affiliated with Racing Point with a view to a return in the future.
We can’t be sure whether or not Stroll Sr’s commitment to his son’s place in the team is absolute, but given the lofty aspirations it must have two drivers delivering at a high level to achieve those ambitions so a change on Stroll’s side of the garage cannot be ruled out.
ASTON MARTIN IN 2021, WOULD LIKE SEBASTIAN VETTEL ASTON MARTIN IN 2021, WOULD LIKE SEBASTIAN VETTEL ASTON MARTIN IN 2021, WOULD LIKE SEBASTIAN VETTEL
SPECIAL QUALIFYING PARTY MODE COULD BE BANNED AFTER SPAIN
OFFICIAL: PEREZ TESTED NEGATIVE AND CONFIRMED FOR SPANISH GRAND PRIX
VERSTAPPEN WILL POSSIBLY COMPETE WITH HAMILTON IN SPAIN
VIDEO FROM RACING STATISTICS : FORMULA 1 TEAMS POLE POSITION RANKING (1950-2020)
F1 CALENDAR 2020 ISTANBUL AND JEREZ IN OPTIONS FOR NOVEMBER !
OFFICIAL : MCLAREN WITHDRAWS FROM PROTEST AGAINST RACING POINT
F1 2020 NEXT RACE
|Anniversary GP||9 Aug|
|10h00 - 11h30||Free practice 1|
|14h00 - 15h30||Free practice 2|
|11h00 - 12h00||Free practice 3|
|14h00 - 15h00||Qualification|
|14h10 - 16h10||Race|