Vettel, eyes 'pink Mercedes' for 2021 (8th Update)
|Vettel to trade pink for red in 2021|
UPDATE Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Sebastian Vettel will swap red for pink next season, the German having reportedly already signed a multi-year deal with Aston Martin Racing.
La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Vettel's move to Aston Martin Racing was on the verge of being announced but was put on hold out of courtesy for Perez who tested positive last week for COVID-19.
However, the deal is as good as done according to the Italian newspaper.
Vettel's hiring will obviously raise the profile of the team and add a coat of luster to the Aston Martin brand which the team will be branded starting in 2021.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, a close friend of Aston Martin major stakeholder Lawrence Stroll commented last weekend on the rumors of Perez's departure and Vettel's arrival in the 'pink' Mercedes squad.
"Replacing Perez is not an easy decision," said Wolff. "But Germany is the second most important market for Aston Martin. The deal with Vettel would be great for them." It is thought that Wolff, helped broker the deal since Vettel does not have a manager.
|Vettel reportedly already signed with Racing Point|
08/04/20 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel insists he has not made a decision about his next move in Formula 1.
That is despite reports not only that he 'bumped elbows' with Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll at Silverstone, but left the circuit on Sunday in team boss Otmar Szafnauer's car.
"Nothing has been decided yet," the quadruple world champion told German media.
"But I'm not going to stay just to say I'm a Formula 1 driver. If it was for money, I would have signed a contract long ago."
However, it is rumored that Vettel has indeed signed up with Racing Point, which will become Aston Martin next year.
The rumor suggests the team wanted to announce it at Silverstone, but delayed it out of respect for Sergio Perez's positive coronavirus infection.
Szafnauer told Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper when asked about Vettel: "I don't rule anything out."
Vettel does not have a manager, but he insisted: "I have no problem getting advice."
As for Vettel's current seat, the 33-year-old had a horror weekend in his Ferrari at Silverstone, explaining: "Something is fundamentally wrong somewhere, either with me or with the car.
"On paper, both cars are pretty similar, so it can't be the setup. There is also no place over a lap where I drive badly - I'm losing over the entire lap."
"Did you think it was an interesting sort of elbow bump between Sebastian Vettel and Lawrence Stroll, the owner of the Racing Point team? I thought it was," said Ted Kravitz on Sky Sports F1, in reference to Vettel and Stroll being spotted together in the pits before the race.
"The rumor was, at the beginning of the weekend, that we might get an announcement that a deal had been done for Seb to join Racing Point next year - on a multi-year contract - which becomes Aston Martin.
"Then the Sergio Perez - COVID-19 positive test came through and it was clear that there wasn't going to be any kind of announcement. I think they wouldn't do that to Sergio.
"I think maybe the deal isn't properly done but it does seem that we've had movement this weekend on that. There seems to be little doubt in this paddock now that Sebastian Vettel will be wearing some kind of silver, pink or green depending on who the sponsors are at Aston Martin next year."
07/17/20 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel has admitted he is having talks with Racing Point about potentially joining the new Aston Martin project for 2021.
"I think it's quite normal to get information," he told Sky Deutschland in Hungary.
"It is important that I make the right decision for myself."
Alpha Tauri driver Daniil Kvyat thinks quadruple world champion Vettel would be able to adjust to life in the midfield.
"I think so, as Kimi Raikkonen did as well," said the Russian.
"It doesn't matter if you are with the top team or in the middle, the task does not change - to squeeze the maximum from the car. And Sebastian is good at that."
However, both Lance Stroll - whose father Lawrence owns the team - and Sergio Perez are under contract for 2021.
Reports indicate that Racing Point can pay out Mexican Perez's deal by July 31, with a seven-digit compensation fee.
"I think I'm with the team as far as I know," Perez said on Thursday. "I have a contract.
"We will see what happens in the next weeks but from my point of view, I've got a contract and I fully believe in the future of the team."
However, Perez also admitted that he "got contacted" by another F1 team last week.
Italian sources indicate that the team in contact with Perez could be Alfa Romeo, who may even make an announcement about him replacing Kimi Raikkonen for 2021 on August 2.
But Haas boss Gunther Steiner suggested to Auto Motor und Sport that he may also have been in touch with Perez.
"You'd have to ask him yourself," he said. "I talk to a lot of drivers but at the moment I don't want to contribute to the speculation."
Meanwhile, even Lance Stroll admitted his seat is not "locked in" at Racing Point for 2021, adding: "It's up to management to decide what's best for the team."
|Sergio Perez to get the boot? Will he end up at the hapless Haas team?|
07/16/20 (GMM) Sergio Perez's manager is reportedly looking around for an alternative seat for the Mexican driver.
The revelation, claimed by ESPN Mexico, follows reports that Ferrari refugee Sebastian Vettel is poised to race alongside Racing Point team owner Lawrence Stroll's son Lance at the new Aston Martin team in 2021.
The source adds that Vettel's contract could be announced at Silverstone on August 2.
However, Racing Point has told us that reports Vettel, 33, has signed a deal are untrue.
Vettel is quoted by Blick newspaper: "Everything is still open. It's great that so many people care about my future, but I decide everything for myself."
ESPN Mexico says Perez's manager Julian Jakobi, who famously worked with Ayrton Senna, has been looking around at options for weeks, even though the Mexican driver has a firm contract for 2021.
Germany's Bild newspaper claims that contract can be bought out for a seven-digit sum by Racing Point if it is done by July 31.
"In Formula 1, it is usually the case that once these issues are being discussed, they are often already done," F1 legend Gerhard Berger told Servus TV.
07/14/20 It is understood that Sebastian Vettel could be considering a move to the newly-branded Aston Martin F1 team for 2021, after being offered a contract by team owner Lawrence Stroll.
According to Autosport, sources have revealed that Stroll has offered Vettel a contract at the team for next year, which will take the spot currently vacated by Racing Point for 2021.
German newspaper Bild, one of the sources that revealed Vettel's departure from Ferrari last May, suggests that deal between Vettel and the team could be agreed soon.
It is not yet unclear who could partner Vettel for 2021 should he make the move to the team, as the team already has a contract with Sergio Perez until 2022.
Lawrence's son Lance currently occupies the second car, having done so since 2019 after a consortium of investors led by his father bought out the team the previous summer.
However, sources suggest that an exit-clause in Perez's contract could allow the team to switch Vettel for the Mexican driver despite his multi-year contract.
Sky F1's Martin Brundle also told over the weekend of the Styrian Grand Prix that Vettel requested an interview with the former driver, leading to suspicion that he has an announcement to make.
After being asked by Autosport during last Friday's press conference in Austria if the team would consider Vettel as an option for Aston Martin in 2021, team principal Otmar Szafnauer was sure there would be no room for the four-time champion.
“It is flattering that everyone thinks a four-time world champion should come to our team, but maybe that's because the car is a bit quicker now. You’re absolutely right, we have long contracts with both our drivers, so it would only be logical that we don’t have space.” Szafnauer said.
|Would Alonso look good in pink? No, Renault Yellow.|
06/29/20 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso are both in the running to drive for the new Aston Martin works team from 2021.
That is the claim of La Gazzetta dello Sport, even though the earlier rumor was that the former world champions were in fact vying for a Renault seat.
However, it is now rumored that Vettel, who will leave Ferrari at the end of 2020, and Alonso, currently on sabbatical, could in fact drive a pink car next year.
The Silverstone based team's owner Lawrence Stroll has taken over Aston Martin and will rebrand Racing Point from 2021. Stroll's son Lance and Sergio Perez are both firmly under contract for next year.
Pedro de la Rosa, who knows Alonso well from his days at McLaren and Ferrari, praised Racing Point's decision to base its 2020 car on last year's Mercedes.
"They took the regulations and said 'Let's see what we can do with them' and what we got was that pink Mercedes," he told Marca sports newspaper.
"Other teams could have done it. I know that the same (Mercedes) contract was offered to others and they declined, because they think it means the maximum is second place.
"But I think second place is something many people in Formula 1 would want at the moment," de la Rosa added.
|Otmar Szafnauer says he has not spoken to Vettel, but has he spoken to Bottas?|
06/27/20 Amidst the Vettel rumors BWT Racing Point F1 Team principal Otmar Szafnauer has stated that the team has not spoken to the four-time world champion.
“Seb and I have been friends for a long time, even before he was a Formula 1 driver I knew him, and ironically he hasn’t called me, so I haven’t had the conversation,” Szafnauer told the F1 Nation podcast.
“I can’t speak for Seb but we all know what a great job he’s done. He won early on in the Toro Rosso which was fantastic, and four world championships.
“He’s had some great races and I think at his relatively young age of 33 he still has some good years left in him. But that’s not for me to say.”
Szafnauer also told F1 Nation that the team was happy with their current lineup of Sergio Perez, who is on a multi-year deal with the team, and Lance Stroll, the son of team owner Lawrence Stroll, heading into 2021.
“We’re really happy with our driver line-up and they’re signed up as well, they work well together,” he said.
“We’ve got Checo [Perez], who, on a Sunday is as good as anyone. He’s very calculated, very clever, good racer, looks after his tires.
“Lance is much younger than Sergio and learning very quickly, but very, very fast. He has great starts, and when he’s in the thick of it, can race really well. And he’s learning.
“I think eventually Lance will overtake Sergio and having that combination of young and experience is perfect for us.”
05/26/20 (GMM) Intrigue about the future of Mercedes' works team is only intensifying.
In the past days, weeks and months, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has been clearly moving in the direction of fellow Aston Martin investor Lawrence Stroll.
Wolff admits he is in talks with new Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius about his role as Mercedes team boss.
"It's not just about whether I extend my contract as team principal but also about what we are going to do with this joint company," Wolff told ORF.
A new rumor is that Wolff could up his stake in the team, while it is also being suggested that he and Stroll could move to take over Mercedes altogether.
Billionaire Stroll is already planning to rebrand Racing Point as Aston Martin next year.
It is therefore fascinating that the man being tipped to take over from Andy Palmer as the CEO of the road car company Aston Martin is Tobias Moers.
Currently, Moers runs the Mercedes performance arm AMG. The Financial Times expects the news to be announced on Tuesday.
"The company confirms that it is reviewing its management team and a further announcement will be made as and when appropriate," Aston Martin told us.
Ferrari refugee Sebastian Vettel is even being tipped as a potential Aston Martin teammate for Stroll's son Lance.
Vettel is also being linked with the works Mercedes team, but former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld told Sky Germany that the quadruple world champion being paired with Lewis Hamilton is "very unrealistic".
"I don't see it, but so much has happened in Formula 1 so let's wait and see," he added.
05/25/20 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel will join "a winning team" for 2021 or quit the sport, according to his former boss Dr Helmut Marko.
Speculation about the quadruple world champion's future is rife after Ferrari announced that he will be replaced by Carlos Sainz next year.
"I have spoken to Sebastian and of course we went through the options at Red Bull, but unfortunately there are none," Marko, who brought Vettel into the sport via Red Bull's driver program, told Sky Germany.
"When I spoke to him, the message was that if he can join a winning team, he continues. Otherwise not."
Indeed, after McLaren chiefs revealed that no talks with 32-year-old Vettel took place, it is believed Renault is also not an option for the German.
However, there are now rumors that Aston Martin may be a possibility.
F1 business journalist Christian Sylt reported in the British publication This Is Money that documents show Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll is paving the way for Aston Martin to invest up to $243m in the re-branded team.
"Of course I think it is possible that Vettel goes to an Aston Martin team that will have Mercedes engines," said RTL commentator Florian Konig.
|The 'pink' Mercedes Racing Point car is a near 100% copy of last year's Mercedes|
Earlier, it was suggested Vettel was eyeing only the works Mercedes team, but Ralf Schumacher thinks there is "a lot under discussion" going on at present.
"There is the possibility that Toto Wolff, in combination with Lawrence Stroll, can offer him something," the former F1 driver said.
Schumacher thinks it is possible that Wolff and Stroll may even "buy Mercedes".
Konig continued: "I think there will be intensive work behind the scenes to ensure that Sebastian will still be in Formula 1 in 2021."
Some think Mercedes parent Daimler will be pushing hard to potentially pair Vettel with Lewis Hamilton from 2021.
"If I interpret correctly, the decision rests with Mercedes," Marko said. "I think Hamilton against Sebastian would mobilize a very, very large number of spectators."
Marko also thinks Vettel could simply retire.
"It would be a shame for the sport, but for him it would be the best solution if there is no winning team available," he said.
Vettel's friend and mentor, the former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, thinks it really is possible that Mercedes will pair Hamilton and Vettel together.
"The two get along. I don't see any ego problems and two outstanding drivers like them would be a super team," he told RTL.
"I can't imagine that Hamilton would worry about Sebastian and I know that Vettel would also enjoy the challenge of fighting Lewis in the same car."