RaceFans image: How Sebastian Vettel could look as an Aston Martin driver

Could Vettel be an Aston Martin driver in 2021?

2021 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel does not want to remain at Ferrari – at least not on the terms he was being offered.

But it seems he does want to remain in Formula 1. Last week’s announcement confirming his split from Ferrari gave no indication he is contemplating retirement.

Vettel did state, however, that “in order to get the best possible results in this sport, it’s vital for all parties to work in perfect harmony.” Where is he going to find the harmony he’s looking for?

Surely not alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes or Max Verstappen at Red Bull – options which, at any rate, may not be open to him. Renault may be an outside chance, though it would involve swallowing a chunk of pride and settling for the option Daniel Ricciardo just spurned.

But the leftfield option could be found just outside Silverstone at Racing Point – the team which will become Aston Martin next year.

The involvement of Aston Martin, following the buy-in to the company by Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll, will give the team the status of works entry befitting a driver of Vettel’s calibre. It would also put Mercedes power beneath his right foot.

Stroll is serious about building his entry into a serious F1 contender. He has invested in its facilities, hired new staff and is planning a new factory.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
The pink car which flew in testing will be green next year
The team’s 2020 contender underlines that ambition. The RP20 marks a total change in design philosophy for Racing Point – a bold move given that the chassis was originally only going to be used for this season, though the postponement of new 2021 technical regulations means it will form the basis of next year’s car as well.

The car, with its overt resemblance to last year’s Mercedes, performed encouragingly well in testing. The team which finished ‘best of the rest’ in 2016 and 2017 on a smaller budget than they enjoy today were shaping up as serious contenders to lead the midfield and potentially close the gap to the front-runners.

They are not going to be victory contenders in the short-term. But if F1’s 2022 regulations package does narrow the gap between manufacturer and engine customer teams in the desired fashion, Aston Martin are well-placed to take advantage.

How could Vettel fit into their driver line-up? Comments made by CEO Otmar Szafnauer to Radio Canada over the weekend were immediately seized on by some as an indication that he couldn’t. A realistic view suggests otherwise.

Long-serving driver Sergio Perez is locked in. He signed a new three-year deal last season.

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The team’s other seat is occupied by Stroll’s son Lance. Racing Point has always said he has a “long term” deal to drive for the team, a point it reiterated when asked by RaceFans earlier this week.

Lawrence Stroll, Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Lawrence Stroll placed son Lance at Racing Point
Stroll has demonstrated flashes of potential in F1 – a podium and front row start in his debut season, and Racing Point’s best individual result last year. But the fact of the matter is he owes his place in F1 to his father’s backing.

This presents a question: Why is Lawrence Stroll bankrolling his Aston Martin F1 project? Is it means to an end – i.e., building a team to further his son’s career – or an end in itself?

If it’s the latter, signing a driver with Vettel’s speed, credibility and experience has obvious appeal. Not to mention that it would suit Aston Martin’s brand aspirations perfectly for their first driver hiring to come from Ferrari.

It needn’t come to pass in 2021, of course. Vettel’s final season at the Scuderia looks set to involve an intense schedule of races, following which he could take a year’s sabbatical and return refreshed in time for the new 2022 regulations.

A big-name signing such as Vettel would be a huge declaration of intent for Aston Martin. Could it happen? That’s for Lawrence Stroll the father and Lawrence Stroll the hard-nosed businessman with a 10-figure fortune to contemplate.

View the current list of 2021 F1 drivers and teams

Main image: How Vettel could look in Aston Martin overalls.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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55 comments on “Could Vettel be an Aston Martin driver in 2021?”

  1. If Papa Stroll is serious about creating a racing team and isn’t just bank rolling his son’s career, then he should definitely hire Vettel. Baby Lance will have his rear end handed to him by either Perez or Vettel.. so it might make sense for Stroll to get Vettel on board. He’ll add a whole lot more credibility to the team, and will be much better at pushing things forward within their camp.

    1. Literally this. Only this.

    2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      20th May 2020, 14:39

      Dont’ care so long as they use this livery

      1. Very nice livery.

        1. Indeed.

    3. Interesting situation. As per rumors, Daimler board of directors wants Vettel in the team. Toto Wolff is against it. But suddenly, Astroll Matrin wants Vettel as well, where Wolff has a share.

      1. @regs

        I have a feeling that this will happen. Vettel and Stroll at Aston Martin in either 2021 or 2022. I don’t think Daimler will be able to force Toto in to disrupting their plans for the Mercedes team, but Aston could definitely use Vettel in their squad.

        1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
          21st May 2020, 12:54

          It sounds plausible.

  2. Only if Checo would terminate his contract early and he should only do that if it were for a move to Mercedes.

    1. I bet is that Seb isn’t going to be racing in F1 next year.

  3. If Stroll really wants to spend $$$, there’s Hamilton. Stroll already sponsors him through the clothing brand, and knows more about Mercedes future than all of us.

    But maybe HAM is not interested. Perez needs to hit the top three in 2022 with new regulations (he may do so with the pink RP-W10 this year, who knows…) before Aston Martin becomes a title contender.

    Predictions are worth an used face mask this days, so let’s see when racing resumes.

    1. Stroll already sponsors (Hamilton) through the clothing brand

      I believe Stroll sold his Hilfiger investment a long time ago.

  4. Damn, if Vettel goes to AM, I’m not sure if I should cheer for them or not. On one hand, I have quite a bit AM Lagonda stock that I desperately want to see rise again. On the other hand, I really want to see Seb continue to fail in F1.

    1. Why so much bitterness? It’ll do you no good in the long term.

    2. You’ll have your wish no matter if you root for AM or not, vettel is what he is.

  5. At the end of the day Racing Point/Aston Martin are a racing team and a business. That means they need to be getting results on the track and in the investments of the investors (of which Stroll Snr is a part of).

    If Stroll Jr doesn’t perform compared to Perez, then absolutely he shouldn’t be covered from scrutiny by his fathers ownership of the team. That’s not to say Perez is unmovable ofc, he had a contract at Mclaren too, and how long did he stay there for.

    But if was my team and my backers was looking to get results, I’d have the best line up I possibly could, and the choice of Vettel over Stroll Jnr is quite an easy choice.

  6. Aston Martin, following the buy-in to the company by Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll, will give the team the status of works entry

    Isn’t that a stretch? AML is so small nowadays that it is as much a ‘works entry’ as McLaren is, or even Spyker and Marussia were when they were in F1.
    Next you tell me that a team owned by Dyson would be a works entry.

    1. @ Coldfly…… I bet that the cars in a team owned by Dyson would have the very best downforce!!!

      1. Tommy Scragend
        20th May 2020, 14:01

        The Dyson team wouldn’t do very well. Their cars would suck.

        1. Winner of the Caption Competition without image.

      2. A Dyson team would herald a return to V12’s which would be awesome. Their current model is the V11.

    2. pastaman (@)
      20th May 2020, 14:37

      Agreed, this whole “works team” notion is nothing but marketing fluff

    3. @coldfly given that McLaren produces a higher proportion of components in house, whilst having comparable sales to Aston Martin (similar in terms of numbers of cars sold, and higher in terms of revenue generated), I’d agree that, is Aston Martin is classified as a “works entry”, you could make a case for McLaren being a “works entry” by that definition.

      I do wonder, though, whether any plans that the team might have had in 2019 will still look that viable now. Aston Martin is facing significant financial pressure right now – their losses in the first quarter of this year shot up to £119 million, and the indication is the second quarter could be even worse given that Q1 doesn’t cover the peak of the shutdown period. Similarly, a number of Stroll’s other investments in the fashion industry have been fairly hard hit by the current crisis – a few of them might already have been in a bit of trouble even before that.

      Bear in mind also that both Stroll and Perez have taken pay cuts, whilst the wider team has been placing staff on furlough. I would not be surprised if Stroll is under more financial pressure now and might have to cut back on the scale of some of his planned investments – which would then raise the question of whether Racing Point/Aston Martin would still be quite so attractive to Vettel and whether the team would necessarily have the resources to pay for Vettel’s services.

  7. It would be a very interesting move, but I don’t see Aston Martin dropping nor Stroll or Checo.

  8. I think it’s quite possible that Vettel or Alonso could turn up at Aston Martin in 2022. A final 3 year contract for either driver. Stroll will offer them Number 1 status, in exchange for providing mentorship to his son. So Vettel or Alonso could potentially get a shot at a final Championship in exchange for building up Lance to lead the team once they’ve left. If I was Vettel or Alonso this seems a more appealing option than Renault, you get the Mercedes engine, a Billionaire owner. Also Team Stroll is going nowhere he’s put his money where his mouth is. Renault could pull the plug after this crisis, also they’re the only team running their engine, so that hurts them as well.

    1. Final championship? I have a hard time seeing ex force india challenging for titles soon or ever.

  9. This is slightly off topic..

    We’ve seen more drivers’ heads photoshopped onto other drivers’ bodies in the last couple of weeks, than proper photos of drivers all year. We’ve had Hamilton at Ferrari, Ricciardo at Ferrari, Vettel at Mercedes, Sainz at Ferrari, Ricciardo at McLaren, Alonso at Renault, and now Vettel at Aston Martin. I don’t even know what’s real anymore.

  10. I can’t imagine what Seb has to gain from a switch to Aston Martin. If he’s only just fallen out with Ferrari, he fell out of love with F1 years ago.

    He’s made quite clear what he dislikes about modern F1, and moving to a less-competitive team won’t make the calendar less arduous, it won’t give him a V10 engine, it won’t make the sport any less political, and it certainly won’t make him anymore likely to win races than he is at Ferrari. It’s not like he needs the money either.

    If he can’t somehow get a Mercedes seat, I can’t see him sticking around.

    It’s quite left field, but I think he’d be a good fit for Super Formula. High performance cars, relatively simple engines, old-school tracks, and a short, spread-out calendar that wouldn’t require a full time life commitment? That would suit him well. No chance of it happening, of course, but it would go down a storm.

  11. How is Wolffs involvement in the team? Could his positive words about Vettel mean that he would be positive for him to join AM or even work for that to happen?

  12. All that is missing is a tweed cap.

  13. Ian John Pyke
    20th May 2020, 14:57

    Lance isn’t going anywhere. So that leaves Perez, who has outstayed his welcome in F1 anyway. He is not the man to push the team on.

  14. Stroll is investing heavily in the race team and Aston Martin Lagonda. He is now the executive chairman of AML and the principal of the pink panther team.

    A billionaire who is self made doesn’t do that unless he is serious. People like Stroll and his consortium of investors don’t find wasting money entertaining or fun. Even more important to Stroll is his reputation as a winner, a man with a golden touch who other billionaires are relaxed about following into an investment. He won’t risk losing that.

    I wondered last week about Vettel and AML. Vettel is an organised man who likes to map out his career moves carefully. He didn’t jump overboard from Ferrari on an unplanned whim. There are few places he could be going. And this article suggests one of them with or without a sabbatical year.

    If Bottas leaves Mercedes it won’t be to give the seat to Vettel, it will be to make room for George Russell.

    So why not help build up a new team with an old name and a culture he is comfortable with.

    1. Witan, whilst you say that “People like Stroll and his consortium of investors don’t find wasting money entertaining or fun.”, it is also the case that nobody was expecting a major pandemic and a major economic contraction to go with it. Whatever plans Stroll might have had a mere six months ago are potentially not worth the paper they could be written on now, as the short to medium term economic picture looks very different.

  15. For Vettle to become a RP driver is about as smart as it will get for Seb now.

    His skill sets in what outwardly appears to be a good car might raise the fortunes of the team while creating a clever reputation saving exit from both Ferrari and Mercedes interests.

    The Racing Point challenger is a looking car with a V Cool livery.

    OK let’s assume the owner wants to raise his game too. Then park your son at a
    go-cart track in Ohio where he might be competitive. Must be nice to be able to give your son a ride in a brand new Formula One car. Especially with such little experience. I think it’s understood where this guy stands.

    So pull a boss/dad moment and invest in Seb. Set your boy down and maybe winning will happen with Vettle.

    If that happens with Seb and a RP Victory, it will become the talk of the year. At least it seems possible.

    1. Barely wins a race with a race winning car, wins a title with a midfield car that struggles for podiums.

  16. Throw in Alonso and Vettel in the Aston Martin team and dump Lance in Renault.

    1. No one :
      Literally No one :
      Racefans In June : Could Vettel be a driver at all?

        1. Sorry man. No idea why this was posted as a reply to your comment.

  17. my guess is he will do a Jaguar

  18. Which drivers are out of contract at the end of 2021 I wonder. I am thinking that Seb might take a year out and try to come back with someone new in 2022.

    In terms of competitive drives though, these look a bit thin on the ground. If he really does want to stay in F1 Renault might be his best option. If they are interested at all.

  19. I think Vettel joining Aston may have finished before it started. If I were running Ferrari at the minute I too would have dropped Vettel; but I would have replaced him with Perez. Perez has historic links with the Scuderia, would be a boon for sales in North America and would dutifully play number 2 if he got the opportunity to pick up the odd win. Racing Point would be able to demand a high fee given the length of Perez’ current deal which could have been used to fund Vettel. In all honesty, I felt signing Perez on a long term deal was inspired – they held a key player in the driver market so could play hard ball should another team need him or they get to keep a decent yard stick to see how Stroll progresses.

    As for Aston, it reminds me of the Eddie Jordan quote on signing Senna for 1994 but selling him a percentage of the team, “would you rather have 100% of £100 or 50% of a £1000”. Vettel could be attracted to the idea of having a stake in an iconic brand given his love for the history of the sport.

    But I feel Vettel will retire, a victim of too much success too soon, he’s been a target for derision for a long time and has failed only by incredibly lofty standards. Do I rate Vettel as the best of his generation? No. But I respect that on his day he was unbeatable and that 2011 Vettel was a match for almost any Champion. Winning 4 back-to-back titles is a superb achievement as is being Ferrari’s third most successful driver in terms of victories. I always want the best drivers to compete for as long as possible however, so a sabbatical where he gets to feel the market or a return to Red Bull when Max moves over to Mercedes would be my preference for Seb.

    1. It’s only because hardly anyone won at ferrari! 14 wins, I think they were, is NOT impressive at a team that, you can say what you want that may be underachieving for their budget etc. but at least proved to be competitive since the 50s, generally either a winning car or at least a podium car.

  20. There could be at least five more articles like this. Just change the photoshop picture with different team outfits.

  21. Or maybe just maybe Vettel will go to Racing Point/Aston Martin and have his derrière handed to him by Perez. I could see that happening..

    1. Ahah, wouldn’t exclude that, I think they would be evenly matched.

  22. The only way I could see that happening is if Lance has somewhere else to go – either another team wanting to hire him or Lance deciding to do something else. If Racing Point is a strong enough team in 2021 or 2022 for Sebastian to be interested, then I suspect it will also be strong enough that Lance will want to stay, and won’t want to leave for a weak team. So unless a strong team hires him, there will be nowhere for Sebastian to sit.

  23. That race suit … yuk, BRG ok but the yellow? Lotus to me. Am I showing my age?

  24. Anyone else remember the Aston Martin/Rothmans/airline captain ads?

  25. I think seb will take a sabbatical and come back to red bull in 2022 after they get rid of albon. I’d be extremely surprised if red bull keeps albon considering his performances were not much write about in 2019. Just like gasly’s weren’t. I think even mid season swap is possible. I don’t really expect anything from albon when the season starts.

    Red bull doesn’t have any new skill coming to their top team in couple of years so if albon doesn’t cut it and seb is available then red bull simply cannot afford to not have him. The prize money alone that red bull lost last year is worth the extra money it pays to get a driver worthy of the car. After all there is also the sponsors angle to this. They only want their stickers on verstappen’s car because that is the car that is shown on screen, getting results.

    Kvyat and gasly are both red bull rejects and the way I see it albon will join that group in a year’s time. Nobody in that group is getting second chances. I like albon as a person based on his public appearances but when it comes to raw pace, results and promise he is not it. Seb on the other hand can light up a fire under verstappens baby bottom, he knows the team and has good history with them. Even if seb is erratic he can deliver at times.

    It makes sense for red bull to see if albon can do better because mid season swaps are not easy but they must also be realistic. If vettel is available red bull has to take him because they are the only top team that needs a driver and don’t have anybody.

    1. Bogus Article
      21st May 2020, 13:20

      Vettel and Max on a team? Yeah thats not gonna work

      1. Why not? Ricciardo and Vettel in one team worked fine too. Ricciardo simply destroyed Vettel and then Vettel doesn’t get to complain about how the team should be supporting him.

  26. Give us all a break. Vettles time has come and now is gone. A smart guy walks away knowing he had more to offer. He is one of the best, so act like it and retain your reputation by accepting that you did damn well with the cars offered. You aren’t the first to face chasing one more win or walking away with a butt load of money while being able to still walk away.
    The Racecar offers a multitude of paths into the future. Better car better opportunity.
    Hope Seb is smart enough to be content with his record and his place in the history books. Isn’t that enough ?

  27. All depends on the backer’s interests. If Vettel brings value to their brands, Daddy Stroll will need to make a good argument to keep Lance.

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