Sergio Perez has parted ways from Racing Point at the end of this season as the team will be rebranded as Aston Martin Racing from 2021 onwards and in place of Perez will be the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel has been linked with the outfit currently known as Racing Point since Ferrari revealed in May that he would not be retained after the end of this year.
Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll targeted the four-time champion, who will clearly bring extra attention to the team from the very start under its new manufacturer-backed identity.
With Lance Stroll staying on that meant there was no seat for Sergio Perez, who is currently in his seventh season with the Silverstone team. On Wednesday evening the Mexican confirmed his departure by issuing a press release.
The signing of Vettel is another indication of how serious Lawrence Stroll is about building up the Aston Martin team. A new factory, adjacent to the current facility, is in the planning stages.
“I am pleased to finally share this exciting news about my future,” said Vettel. “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.
“The energy and commitment of Lawrence to the sport is inspiring and I believe we can build something very special together. 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.”
Team boss Otmar Szafnauer said: “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.
“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.”
So goodbye Perez and hello Vettel. It’s a shame that long serving member Sergio has to leave after racing with the Silverstone-based outfit since the Force India period. He actually signed a multi-year contract extension just last year to continue racing with the team. But Lawrence has changed that thanks to the Aston Martin connection and getting Vettel’s signature.
Best of luck to both drivers in their path to success in Formula 1. Is Perez off to join Haas or Alfa Romeo? Can Vettel regain his confidence and enthusiasm following a difficult few races at Ferrari this year? Only time will tell.