Sebastian Vettel appears poised to drive for Racing Point, to be rebranded as Aston Martin next season, after Sergio Pérez announced he is no longer wanted by the Formula One team.
The Mexican revealed his departure after seven years with Racing Point in the buildup to Sunday’s Tuscan Grand Prix. The Silverstone-based team will race under the Aston Martin name next season and Vettel is set to head up the new project.
The German is leaving Ferrari after the current campaign, which has been hugely disappointing for the team. Four times a world champion with Red Bull, Vettel is expected to join Lance Stroll, a current Racing Point driver and the son of team’s co-owner Lawrence Stroll.
An announcement could be made as early as Thursday and is likely to overshadow Ferrari’s 1,000th grand prix. The team have unveiled a special burgundy livery for the race at the constructor’s own track at Mugello.
“Everything in life always has a beginning and an end and after seven years together my time with the team will come to an end after the season,” said Pérez, who played a key role in keeping Racing Point (then Force India) from going out of business in 2018.
“It hurts a bit as I bet on the team during very rough times. We managed to overcome obstacles and I am very proud of saving the jobs of several of my teammates,” the 30-year-old added.
“I’ll keep the memories of the great moments lived together, the friendships and the satisfaction of always giving my all. To the current administration, I wish nothing but the best in the future, especially with the upcoming Aston Martin project.”
The Racing Point team principal, Otmar Szafnauer, said: “Sergio has been part of the Silverstone family for seven years and in that time has become one of the most complete drivers on the grid. Together we have enjoyed some fantastic moments. It’s been a pleasure working with him for such a long time.”
Vettel heads to Mugello this weekend ranked a lowly 13th in the drivers’ championship. He will be replaced by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz at Ferrari next year following Charles Leclerc’s emergence as the team’s leading driver.
Pérez may stay in F1, with US team Haas an option along with Alfa Romeo, where veteran Kimi Raikkonen’s future beyond this year is in doubt.