Four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel has signed for the renamed Aston Martin team for the 2021 season "and beyond", the ambitious British Formula One outfit announced Thursday. The 33-year-old German won four consecutive titles from 2010 to 2013 with Red Bull before joining Ferrari, but the Italian team has not renewed his contract.
Signing Vettel was "a clear signal" to the racing world, said Racing Point, which will take the Aston Martin name next year after Canadian billionaire owner Lawrence Stroll's investment in the British brand. Vettel will drive alongside Stroll's son Lance and replace Mexican driver Sergio Perez who announced on Wednesday he will leave Racing Point at the end of the season.
"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," said Vettel. The energy and commitment of Lawrence (Stroll) to the sport is inspiring and I believe we can build something very special together." He added: "I still have so much love for Formula 1 and my only motivation is to race at the front of the grid. To do so with Aston Martin will be a huge privilege."
Vettel has spent six seasons with the Italian team without repeating his title-winning heroics at Red Bull. This term has proved particularly difficult with Vettel sinking to 13th place in the championship ahead of Sunday's Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello in Italy. The last of Vettel's 53 victories — the third most in F1 history — came at the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix. Only Michael Schumacher (91) and Lewis Hamilton (89) have won more races. Vettel has also finished on the podium a further 67 times.
"Everybody at Silverstone is hugely excited by this news. Sebastian is a proven champion and brings a winning mentality that matches our own ambitions for the future as Aston Martin F1 Team," said team principal Otmar Szafnauer. "On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, Sebastian is one of the best in the world, and I can't think of a better driver to help take us into this new era. He will play a significant role in taking this team to the next level."
Racing Point's current season has been marred by controversy with accusations they had copied Mercedes' brake ducts. On Sunday, Racing Point dropped their appeal against a 15-point deduction and 400,000-euro ($472,000) fine.
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