Stunning F1 lifeline on the cards for Sebastian Vettel

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Pictured here, Sebastian Vettel celebrates after the Singapore GP.
Sebastian Vettel is thought to be close on agreeing a deal with Aston Martin for next year. Pic: Getty

Racing Point may be doing their best to play down the rumours, but the Formula One newcomers are firming as favourites to offer Sebastian Vettel a stunning lifeline.

The four-time world champion's future has been the subject of intense speculation since it emerged earlier in the year that he was leaving Ferrari at the end of the current campaign.

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Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer has consistently denied reports his team are keen on making a play for the German driver.

“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," Szafnauer said last week.

"You’re absolutely right, we have log contracts with both our drivers, so it would only be logical that we don’t have space.”

The Silverstone-based team - which will be rebranded as Aston Martin next year - already has a multi-year contract with Sergio Perez and team owner Lawrence Stroll's son, Lance.

However, Germany’s Bild newspaper reports that a deal between the team and Vettel could be agreed soon, with Perez the most likely driver to depart.

Sky Sports Germany also claims Vettel and Racing Point are "strongly" attracted by the prospect of working together.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner also appeared to validate the reports when asked about Vettel’s future last weekend.

“I guess he’s got a couple of choices available to him – I assume either Racing Point, or a year out and re-evaluate the options in a year’s time,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“I don’t think Lance is going to get fired! Of course, drivers’ contracts between the teams, you never know what’s within them, it’s only the Contract Recognition Board that has full sight of them.

Contract clause could see Perez exit

Perez's legal action that resulted in Stroll taking over the team formerly known as Force India and the owner's longstanding relationship with the driver's manager, would suggest that the Mexican's future with the team is safe.

However, it is understood that Perez’s contract includes a clause which would allow the team to make an early driver change.

Seen here, Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.
Sergio Perez has a multi-year contract with the Racing Point team. Pic: Getty

Stroll may have decided that the opportunity to sign Vettel was too good to pass up considering the bigger picture of rebranding the team and rebuilding the struggling sports car manufacturer.

Vettel would also be very acceptable to German motoring giant Mercedes, which supplies power units and gearboxes to the team.

The DNAs of the two companies are somewhat intertwined, with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff recently acquiring shares in Aston Martin, and former AMG man Tobias Moers coming in as its new boss.

Another intriguing aspect of a move to Aston Martin for Vettel is the fact he would be closer to the Mercedes camp - making a potential future switch to the manufacturer an easier proposition.