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Racing Point: Vettel will ‘raise the team to a different level’

Mat Coch

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Tuesday 22nd September, 2020 - 10:46am

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Otmar Szafnauer

The arrival of Sebastian Vettel at Racing Point will “raise the team to a different level” according to team boss Otmar Szafnauer.

It was confirmed earlier this month that four-time world champion Vettel would join the squad currently known as Racing Point for the 2021 season.

At that point the team will be re-branded Aston Martin with the German alongside Lance Stroll.

“He will raise the team to a different level and I’m sure it will be 1000 little things that he will help us improve that can then take us to a new level,” Szafnauer said in anticipation of Vettel’s arrival.

“I think he’ll bring with him a world champion work ethic and that’s what we all want to learn from.

“Everyone’s going to have to raise their game and he will be a great mentor for Lance too.

“He’s still relatively young and very fast, and it’s great for Lance to learn from a four-time world champion.”

Perez finds himself out of a drive at a time when there are precious few available.

Most of the front running teams have their lineups confirmed, though Mercedes has not yet inked a new deal with Lewis Hamilton.

Alex Albon also doesn’t yet have anything in place beyond 2020 at Red Bull, nor for that matter do either AlphaTauri drivers.

Alfa Romeo (Sauber) and Haas also both have openings, the former having employed Perez during his first two seasons in F1 in 2011 and 2012.

It’s a bleak reality for the 30-year-old, a point acknowledged by Szafnauer.

“It wasn’t an easy call to make, because Checo has served us well. He’s a great racer, a quick driver and is a safe pair of hands on a Sunday,” he said.

“It’s a compliment to Checo that we had to deliberate so long on whether to take a four-time world champion with all the experience that Seb brings or stay with Checo.

“(But) ultimately, with Aston Martin returning to the sport, I think it’s the right decision to get the experience that Seb brings with him – the experience of driving and working for a top team. (And) that’s what Aston Martin aspires to be.

“Checo is a good guy and a great racer who served us well over the years. He’s great on a Sunday and he’s got quicker with his one-lap pace on Saturday. He was always reliable too.

“He’s a true professional and we look forward to the remaining races with Checo,” he added.

“We hope he can go out on a high and hopefully race against him in the future.

“But when a four-time world champion like Sebastian becomes available, that doesn’t happen every day or every year, and we had to consider our options deeply.

“We have aspirations to move the team forward and we’re working hard back at Silverstone to invest in all areas of the team to get the infrastructure and resources where they need to be.

“With Sebastian, I know what he will bring a massive amount to the team.

“It’s all the experiences gained in winning four World Championships and 53 races – and we want to learn from that.”

Racing Point currently sits fourth in the constructors’ championship with 92 points, 14 behind third placed McLaren and nine clear of Renault in fifth.

The team has also weathered the storm caused by its controversial decision to imitate the 2019 Mercedes W10 in the design of its 2020 car.

It was found in breach of the Sporting Regulations as a result of aspects of the design, for which it was fined EUR 400,000 and receives a reprimand at each event, but all subsequent appeals have been dropped.

Yesterday the team announced that Jefferson Slack would rejoin the team.

Having worked with Michael Jordan, he has since gone on to roles with MotoGP and the International Basketball Federation.

He has taken up the role of Managing Director, Commercial and Marketing with immediate effect.

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