Quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel will join the renowned Aston Martin team in Formula 1 next year.
Aston Martin said Vettel’s signing was “a clear statement of the team’s ambition” to establish themselves at the front.
“It’s a new adventure for me with a truly legendary automaker,” said Vettel, who replaces Sergio Perez.
A statement from Aston Martin said Vettel had signed for “2021 and beyond” but did not confirm the length of the contract.
Typically, the German is expected to have signed a three-year deal.
Vettel said: “I am extremely proud to say that I will become an Aston Martin driver in 2021.
“I have been impressed with the team’s results this year and I think the future looks even brighter.
“Lawrence’s energy and commitment [Stroll, the owner] in 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 top of the grid. To do this with Aston Martin will be a huge privilege. “
Team manager Otmar Szafnauer said the team were “extremely excited” by the news.
“Sebastian is a proven champion and brings a winning mentality that matches our own ambitions for the future as the Aston Martin F1 Team,” he said.
“On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon Sebastian is one of the best in the world, and I can’t think of a better rider to help us enter this new era. He will play an important role in bringing this team to the next. level. “
Reputation to be established and revived
Racing Point took a huge leap forward in 2020, emerging with the third fastest car on the grid – although they were surrounded by controversy for copying the 2019 Mercedes.
Last month they were docked 15 points and fined € 400,000 for illegally copying the 2019 Mercedes brake lines and using them on their 2020 car. The case has led to clarifications of the rules for the season next that aim to prevent such a wholesale copy of one team’s car from another from happening again.
Vettel is one of the most successful drivers in F1 history.
His 53 race wins are a total surpassed only by Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, and only Schumacher, Hamilton and Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio have more titles than him.
The name Aston Martin will enter F1 next year after the takeover of Racing Point and the famous sports car company by Stroll, a billionaire Canadian businessman.
The 61-year-old rescued the administration’s F1 team in 2018 and took over Aston Martin earlier this year, which has been moving from one financial crisis to another for some time.
Stroll made his fortune in fashion but has always been fascinated by F1 and has a large collection of classic cars.
The signing of Vettel necessitated the breach of Perez’s contract. The Mexican, who has brought money to the team through his backers, signed a contract with Racing Point last fall until the end of 2022.
But Ferrari’s decision to do without Vettel, taken even before this season began, changed the landscape of the driver market and Stroll saw his signing as too good an opportunity to miss.
However, Vettel’s reputation is not what it was after three difficult years at Ferrari.
Vettel won four consecutive titles with Red Bull from 2010-13 and joined Ferrari in 2015 after a year in which his new teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had beaten him.
Vettel helped build Ferrari until they were title contenders against Hamilton and Mercedes in 2017 and 2018, but each year they failed, in part due to a series of driver errors.
These continued in 2019, when he was joined in the team by the much-loved Charles Leclerc.
Like Ricciardo, Leclerc beat Vettel in his first season with the team, although the senior started the year as the team’s official number one.
Leclerc scored more pole positions, overqualified Vettel more often than the reverse, won more races and scored more points.
Additionally, there were a series of hot spots between the two drivers as they fought for supremacy, culminating in their exit from the Brazilian Grand Prix together.
Ferrari decided to commit to Leclerc as a team manager and saw Vettel, as a proud and successful champion, too much of a distraction. So they decided not to even enter into negotiations with him and signed Spaniard Carlos Sainz instead.
As such, if Vettel joining what will become Aston Martin is a huge coup for a team that was originally created as Jordan in 1991, it is also a chance for Vettel to rebuild his reputation in a new environment.