Sebastian Vettel at Racing Point – a year ago this relationship would have been unthinkable. Sebastian Vettel had a contract with Ferrari, and Racing Point was a small racing team from midfield. Not an attractive destination for a four-time world champion. Now Racing Point Vettel’s only chance. And not so bad a sporty option. The RP20 is the third fastest car in the field. If the racing team, which was saved from bankruptcy by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll in 2018, is now learning to be a top team, then McLaren, Ferrari and Renault have a defensive opponent in the battle for third place in the constructors’ world championship.
Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Renault are out of the question for Vettel as a new team for various reasons – but Racing Point does. “On paper, it may seem like that is my only option, but reality has often shown that things can change quickly in Formula 1,” says Vettel. He does not want to give the impression that he has reached a dead end. Especially: “First of all, I have to know what I want at all. I take my time for that. If I decide to continue, I’ll see what else is possible. ”
“Nothing for just one season”
But Racing Point receives praise from him. “They made good progress, and the speed of the car in the first two races was impressive.” This Sunday (3:10 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for Formula 1 as well as RTL and Sky) the next Grand Prix is due, this time in Hungary. Vettel’s former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo has already made the step from top to bottom, he says: “Seb has driven almost his entire career up front. One level down is foreign territory for him. He must approach this task openly and consider it a long-term project. It’s not just for one season. “
Reports that Vettel has already signed a contract are denied by Racing Point. You don’t do that in four days between the second and third Grand Prix. Especially since there are still a few hurdles to be overcome. Sergio Perez’s contract does not expire until the end of 2022, and Lance Stroll’s only ends when his father wants it to. The 21-year-old Canadian is considered to be seeded, no matter what his performance is. To date, his father has invested around $ 400 million in his son’s career. He will support her until Filius tells him that he is tired or that his Canadian business partners are suggesting that he think better about the future of the team than that of his son. The racing team from Silverstone, which will start as Aston Martin next year, would be a power with Vettel and Perez.
Perez has heard the rumors about Vettel. The Mexican then called the team management, who assured him that nothing had changed in the contractual situation. But the 30-year-old from Guadalajara has become suspicious. He has been driving Formula One for ten years and knows the business. “Nothing is 100 percent safe in Formula 1. As far as I know, I have a contract with this team, ”he says. And: “Another team has already contacted me.” The US racing team Haas F1 wanted to sign the most underrated Formula 1 driver. Eight podium finishes in inferior cars speak for themselves.
At Racing Point, Perez says that an exchange with Vettel would be expensive. Vettel’s salary would add to the penalty and loss of Mexican sponsors. That’s a lot for a racing team operating at $ 130 million below the future budget ceiling. The money for the transfer would have to be raised by the Canadian investors around Lawrence Stroll, who are not all unconditionally behind the junior’s remaining on the team.
It is also said to be discussed about placing the son at another racing team. Lance Stroll is a decent racing driver, but not a future world champion. He always looks a bit bored and overwhelmed, like someone who only drives to do the ambitious father a favor. Team principal Otmar Szafnauer tries to calm the excited mood and says: “We are happy with our drivers. Both have contracts. You just have to do their job. It is our intention to honor contracts. ”In the Perez contract, there should be clauses that allow premature dissolution against payment of the compensation.