Four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel’s slim hopes of remaining in the sport after 2020 have taken another hit, as Racing Point’s Sergio Perez gave the strongest indication yet he would not be forfeiting his seat to the German star.
Vettel is out of an F1 seat for next season after Ferrari opted not to renew his contract.
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Options at Renault and McLaren were quickly taken off the table, with the teams preferring Fernando Alonso and Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo instead.
The former Red Bull Racing champion’s last hope appeared to lie with Racing Point, who are set to become Aston Martin next season, thanks to investment from Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
Racing Point currently have Mexican wheelman Sergio Perez and Stroll’s son Lance locked in for 2021 - but when Vettel unexpectedly became available, speculation was rife that he might replace Perez.
That talk appears all but shot, with Perez pumping the brakes on those rumours in an interview with Sky Sports.
“I’m not making way either! I hope not,” he said.
““At the moment everything is looking as if we’re going to carry on with the team. So we’ll see.
“The feedback I’ve got from the team is we are going to carry on.”
Perez went on to say it would only be ‘a matter of time’ before the speculation over his contract was finally put to rest.
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Continued talk about his likely departure from the F1 grid will be the last thing Vettel wants to hear, after another outing for Ferrari highlighted by his continued disconnect from team mechanics.
Vettel and Ferrari appear to have been on somewhat frosty terms since opting to part ways, with the former champion frequently butting heads with his engineers over team radio and lagging well behind teammate Charles Leclerc in the standings.
His future in the sport is uncertain, but Jaime Alguersuari, who drove for Toro Rosso between 2009 and 2011, does not think Vettel is finished at the highest level.
"What I do know is that Vettel is a huge driver and the day that he has good sensations with the car, it will be very difficult to beat him," he told Stats Perform News.
"He is going through a difficult time, but this does not make him worse or a bad driver. We can all go through difficult times in our sporting careers. At the moment, that is happening to him.
"The most important thing is not to lose your head and keep working on the problems that he must be facing, in terms of what he is not feeling with the car. Sometimes, you are doing all the best you know and simply there is no speed."
With Stats Perform News