F1: Perez out, Vettel in at Racing Point in 2021
Four Time World Champion Sebastian Vettel will stay on the Formula One grid in 2021 with the German moving to Racing Point replacing Sergio Perez.
10th September 2020
Revealed late on Wednesday night, Sergio Perez sent out a letter to all of Racing Point's employees explaining that despite having a contract beyond next year, he would be departing the team he's been with since 2014.
With a seat now available at the Racing Point, which will become Aston Martin Racing in 2021, Sebastian Vettel confirmed that he will move to the team for next season.
This confirms that Formula One's worst kept secret over the past few months, including the lockdown period which the world has endured, is out in the open.
Vettel's move to Racing Point is another link in the chain that started with the German not renewing his contract at Ferrari for next season. Following this, Carlos Sainz Jr will move to Ferrari from McLaren with Daniel Ricciardo jumping ship from Renault to take the Spaniard's seat at the Woking team.
Returning to the F1 grid and re-joining Renault for the third time in his career will be Two Time World Champion Fernando Alonso. Mercedes followed suit and announced that Valterri Bottas will stay on for another season but his team-mate and Six Time World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, is yet to be confirmed at the Silver Arrows with contract negotiations put on hold.
A statement by Racing Point said that Vettel's deal is for "2021 and beyond". It's likely that his deal is to be around three years starting in 2021.
Vettel, who is 33 years old, kept very quiet around any speculation on his future in the sport but insisted that it would be in the end, his decision.
“I am pleased to finally share this exciting news about my future. 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."
What are Perez's options?
Perez, who missed two races this year due to an conclusive result of COVID-19, lies in 11th in the standings with 34 points, 23 points behind current team-mate Lance Stroll who recently finished third at the Italian GP.
Overall, this is a bitter blow for Perez with the ultra-consistent Mexican admitting in his statement that he, at this moment in time, does not have a "Plan B". He said: "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 this season."
There are teams on the grid for next year who have not confirmed their driver line-up with openings at Haas, Alpha Tauri and Alfa Romeo.
Perez has been one of the top performers on the grid ever since he joined Racing Point which was known as Force India until 2019. To date, he's finished on the podium five times with the squad throughout his long tenure there.
The news must be absolutely gut-wrenching for him as he's got a car that is quick and is capable of challenging for podiums and high-value points nearly every race, something that he has waited for his entire F1 career.
How the 2021 Grid looks like as of September 2020
Mercedes: Valterri Bottas
Red Bull: Max Verstappen
Ferrari: Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz Jr
McLaren: Daniel Ricciardo & Lando Norris
Racing Point: Sebastian Vettel
Renault: Fernando Alonso & Esteban Ocon
Williams: George Russell & Nicholas Latifi
Note: Alpha Tauri, Alfa Romeo, Haas are yet to confirm either of their drivers for 2021.