When Sebastian Vettel posted an Aston Martin badge on Instagram the deal was definitely done.
It came as Racing Point confirmed that Vettel will be joining the team next year – when it will be rebranded as Aston Martin – for a multi-year contract.
It has been clear for a long time that the team’s statements about keeping Sergio Perez were hollow and not to be taken at face value, and the announcement that Perez was departing underscored the point.
His own reaction on social media was clear.
“I received confirmation yesterday. No-one told me anything. It’s fine. Seven years with the team,” Perez said.
[irp posts=”1774″ name=”Perez Punted For Vettel“]
But Racing Point is clearly looking to its future and the master plan laid out by its billionaire owner, Lawrence Stroll.
“Everybody at Silverstone is hugely excited by this news,” said team boss Otmar Szafnauer.
“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.”
Perez might disagree with that assessment after his own effort this year, but he has been handsomely paid-off and is now presumably waiting for an announcement of a drive elsewhere.
“I am pleased to finally share this exciting news about my future,” said Vettel.
Official pictures from Racing Point show Vettel smiling, something rare through his horrible final season with Ferrari, although contractual commitments mean there is no sign of any Aston Martin branding on his clothes.
“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 [Stroll] 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.”