Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Racing Point has “no space” for Vettel in 2021

2021 F1 season

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Racing Point has become the latest team to rule out signing Sebastian Vettel for the 2021 F1 season.

Vettel has already announced he will leave Ferrari at the end of the season, but lacks options for next year. Fernando Alonso took one of the vacant seats for next year at Renault earlier this week. Today Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said they will not offer Vettel a chance to return to the seat he vacated at the end of 2014.

Racing Point, whose RP20 is one of the quickest cars in the midfield, have also been tipped as a potential destination for Vettel. But the team which is due to be rebranded as Aston Martin next year have ruled out bringing Vettel into their fold.

“It’s flattering that everyone thinks a four-time world champion should come to our team,” said team principal Otmar Szafnauer in today’s FIA press conference. “Maybe that’s because the car’s a bit quicker now.

“We have long contracts for both of our drivers so it would only be logical that we don’t have space.”

Last year Sergio Perez signed a new, three-year deal to remain at the team. His team mate Lance Stroll, the son of team owner Lawrence Stroll, is on a long-term deal of unspecified duration.

View the current list of 2021 F1 drivers and teams

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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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35 comments on “Racing Point has “no space” for Vettel in 2021”

  1. Pedro Andrade
    10th July 2020, 14:42

    If I was in charge of Racing Point I’d choose Pérez over Vettel as well, given their performances in the recent past.

    But Stroll… how much can you stretch nepotism over the interest of a team/company? Choosing a driver who in 3 full seasons showed very little of note over a 4-time world champion (even if a demotivated one) does not make much sense. Maybe Vettel required a much bigger paycheck?

    1. It is not how much but how long stroll wants to do this. At this point the only point of the racing point team to exist is to give a good f1 seat to stroll. Stroll’s seat is the company. As long as stroll wants to drive the team exists. After that they’ll find a new hobby.

      1. @socksolid Disagree entirely. Lawrence Stroll is a car guy through and through. He was hanging out with BE and within F1 before Lance was even born. I have no doubt that Lawrence and his group are serious about turning this team into a Championship contender and a player in F1 for years to come. As if he could convince a group of investors to spend millions on this project just so his son can have a ride in F1. No I’m quite sure Lawrence wants to make waves in F1 as a team owner with the intention of becoming one of the iconic teams in F1 in the long run. For the Strolls this is a business, and their passion, and they’re doing what they love.

        1. @robbie You can disagree all you want but stroll would not drive for force india/racing point unless his father owned the team. He would have not had driven for williams without all that money either. The reason his father bought the team is for stroll to have a better car in f1 than williams. How is that not blatantly obvious to anyone and to you? It is the most blatantly clear thing in this world!

          As if he could convince a group of investors to spend millions on this project just so his son can have a ride in F1.

          It is exactly what happened. A group of investors who are also his friends. It is not the first time his daddy buys him a team…

          Of course lawrence is a businessman. He doesn’t just pour money into a losing deal and watch it wash away. That’s not how one becomes rich. He might come out f1 richer or poorer but he has already spent 80 million just to get his son into f1 according to some sources*. Not to mention force india was a solid deal. Top level mid field team that only was neck deep in debt. He wants his son to have an f1 hobby but he’ll also see it as an opportunity to make money. Had force india not been for sale I’m 100% sure stroll would have either stayed at williams or left. Williams was a bad deal, they did not like lawrence wanting things and changes.

          Once his son quits the team will end up for sale. I don’t know if stroll still owns prema f3 team but I doubt it. For sure he would not sell it if it is making money. But the only reason he bought that team as well was for his son to have a racing seat with f1 level equipment and resources at f3. That is blatantly obvious too.


          1. @socksolid Thank goodness there are people like Stroll who have stepped up and invested in F1 and have rescued a team that was on the ropes. It’s not like blokes like this are lined up chomping at the bit to not just be in F1 but to grow a team into something big.

            It is pure speculation on your part as to what Lawrence will do in the future. At least my speculation that he will stay for the long haul is based on what he has been saying about what he wants for the team and for the future, and it sure doesn’t sound like he’s in this for the short term.

            I get that you are bitter about a family with money spending it going racing, but Lawrence comes by it honestly, and as far as I am aware he’s done nothing illegal and rather has bolstered F1 by not only keeping a team on the grid that would otherwise mean nine teams, but he is also determined to make this a top team. Lance won’t be their driver forever, but for however long he is a driver of their’s that is well within their rights to do.

          2. Force india did have a line of buyers. I don’t remember if the lawsuit is still ongoing between stroll and mazepin but force india would have found a buyer for sure.

            I don’t understand why you argue against the most basic logic. Racing point is about stroll having a competitive seat in f1. Do you actually disagree with that? Do you really think stroll has a chance of losing his seat to a better driver?

            I am not bitter. I am simply stating facts. It sucks having stroll in that car when there are drivers like russell stuck in slow williams and can not show what they are capable of just because someone can buy a whole team just to have a seat.

          3. I don’t think that’s the entirety of Stroll Sr’s interest in the team either. He’s a racing guy, and he wants his own team. Getting his son a seat seems secondary, and I don’t expect Lawrence is going to walk away from the team when his son retires from the sport (which he will at some point in the next few years).

            Not hiring Vettel makes complete sense from a financial and team management point of view; Perez is an experienced, well regarded driver who is also pretty even-keeled and doesn’t make a habit of making stupid mistakes. He also brings with him a lot of sponsorship money. He’s a great driver to have if you’re in their position.

            Lance might not be the next Max Verstappen or Charles Leclerc, but he’s not being made to look stupid out there either. He’s typically within a small number of tenths of his team-mate, and remember in the last race managed to keep in front of Vettel while driving a broken car, until he was finally forced to retire.

            So sure, if you hired Vettel in his place, you might make a few more tenths. But it would cost a lot of money to do that. In RP’s position, I think I would find that hard to justify.

          4. @socksolid I think I’ve made my opinion quite clear that Lawrence is in this for the long haul, so no I do not agree that this is all about a seat for Lance. In part, sure. Likely in no small part. But to paint a picture like Lance is useless, just taking up space, and Lawrence will be out of F1 as soon as Lance is done playing, is just bitter sounding and has no foundation.

            And that line up of buyers? Seems Lawrence got it done, and would they have bought Aston Martin to boot? No, there’s big things to come from this team. Rides, and quality ones, for many drivers going forward. Maybe even Russell one day. Glad you appreciate though that a driver can be held back by a Williams and not be able to show what he is capable of doing.

          5. @robbie
            You did not answer the question. Do you really think stroll has a chance of losing his seat to a better driver? Answer is no. As long as he wants to drive he has a seat in a team his daddy bought for him. Would he have bought the team if it wasn’t for lance? Of course not. He tried to buy williams earlier for his son but was rejected. His son moved on, he moved on.

          6. @socksolid I’m sure Lance’s seat is safe for the foreseeable future, but if he ends up dragging the team down then I’m sure they’ll have to have a tough discussion. I’m sure that discussion has already happened amongst the investment group as well, as to what happens if he fails miserably. For now, and let’s see what happens now that this is a car that they can actually push, I see Lance as no worse than the ‘number 2’ that so many fans seem to think a team needs, to not get in the way of the number one. It may not be your ideal, but the reality is Lawrence is wealthy and has stepped up to make this team into a top team for the long haul, and that will be far more beneficial to F1 and far overwhelms your concern about a theoretical better driver in Lance’s seat. For all we know, if this team really becomes a Championship contender in the next five years, they may have a top driver and not want another top driver to bother him. See Mercedes post-NR, see Ferrari’s usual way, see RBR post-DR. It would be very interesting to hear what Lance himself has to say on the matter.

    2. I think it is important to appreciate how bad Stroll’s cars have been up until this year, and we are already seeing much more from him now that his car is more up to it. I know most wrote Stroll off in his first season, practically after his first race, but I think he is showing us how important the car is, which we already knew anyway. Oh I do think now that he is in a better car he still has much to show us, but it is a simple fact that without the car a driver can show us very little. As if we have a choice, let’s see how Stroll does in his current car this season.

      1. Doesn’t matter as we can compare him to his teammates. He was completely outclassed by Massa and Peres, and was about even with Sirotkin, who was also a pay driver. There is absolutely no reason Stroll should be in F1 except money.

        1. Yep, Stroll in the Marco Andretti of F1. He’ll drag around for years and wonder why his team mates are successful.

        2. To be fair, the talk in the GP2 paddock was that Sirotkin was a fairly decent driver, and underappreciated for his technical skills – his master’s degree was in vehicle dynamics and setting up single seater vehicles, so he is no fool.

    3. Just to put it into context, last season Perez scored 52pts to Stroll’s 21pts. If RP had scored 2x52pts they would move from 7th to 5th in the championship.
      According to Dieter and Keith’s prize money analysis for the future, there is about $8M per championship place, so a potential gain of $16M.
      So the question is if the Vettel’s potential salary plus what Lawrence pays into RP just to have Lance sitting on the starting grid is more or less than that?

      1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
        10th July 2020, 18:24

        The thing that gets me with Stroll is that people often talk about him as though he’s still a rookie when this is his fourth season in F1. He barely kept up with a retiring Massa, never looked comprehensively better than Sirotkin and hasn’t been anywhere near Perez. Apart from a very lucky podium and one pretty good qualifying session he’s not really looked all that impressive.

        Compare that to the new ‘rookies’, of Russell, Norris & Albon and all three have made a strong impression on F1 after only one season. Maybe there’s a good driver in Lance Stroll though and with this very good Racing Point car we might see it but he’s had several seasons to find this form when other drivers were out after just one, so you can’t help but wonder if it wasn’t for his father’s money… would he still be here?

        1. If it wasn’t for his father’s money he’d never even reach F1, so we’d never wonder about the question of him staying there. The guy’s still shaking that wheel as if he was panicking while taking every corner. He’s the only one to do this, and it’s his fourth season already.

      2. Fritz Oosthuizen
        11th July 2020, 6:59

        Dex thank you for that info.

  2. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    10th July 2020, 15:00

    I think it’d be an enormous shame if Vettel ends up leaving but he’s swiftly running out of places to go. In fact the only places I can think of are places he probably wouldn’t want to go – Haas, Alpha Tauri or Williams, and of them only AT could probably afford him thanks to Red Bull’s backing. Have to admit it’d be an interesting project to watch if he went to one of those teams and helped to rebuild it, though whether that’s something he’d want to do or even could do is a different question.

    1. @rocketpanda AlphaTauri is a team for Red Bull-backed drivers only, so definitely not an option for him. Alfa Romeo, Haas, Williams, or nothing.

    2. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      10th July 2020, 20:53

      Gene Haas is a billionaire so it’s possible he could pay Seb but would Seb sign on to drive a Haas, I’d say no but you never know. I’ve seen a lot of old NASCAR drivers take midfield drives because their egos to be on the track on Sunday.

      1. I’ve seen a lot of old NASCAR drivers take midfield drives because their egos to be on the track on Sunday

        You got it backwards: if it were for their egos, they’d never take midfield drives. It’s for their need to race that they swallow their egos and take midfield drives.

        1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
          11th July 2020, 1:23

          It’s an ego when they take a bad Cup ride over a good Xfinity ride. I’ve heard Jeff Burton describe it that way.

  3. Team in sport where contracts mean nothing claims they have drivers under contract. This might be taken with a token grain of salt.

    1. Absolutely. Also the wording “it would only be logical that we don’t have space” is not the clear “no” from Red Bull, far from it I’d say. And if the talk that Aston went for Fernando Alonso is true, then it doesn’t really add up.

  4. He could do what Alonso, should have done = IndyCar.
    Seb would be a huge story over here, might get back his passion for racing too.

    1. Given his predeliction for visiting the scenery he better put on a sumo suit before attempting to drive the USA ovals.

      1. Good point… I wish they’d bin all the ‘ovals’ other than Indy.

        1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
          10th July 2020, 20:55

          Why? Racing is dangerous, the drivers know this and oval racing puts on some of the best racing of the IndyCar season.

  5. Is Vettel actually looking for a seat?

  6. Ferrari have not been fair to Vettel. It just boggles my mind how his situation became desperate overnight.
    Not saying he will suffer if he doesn’t get a racing job, but his ability and achievements must command some respect, yet to now find himself facing closed doors from other racing teams

    1. That’s Ferrari doing a Ferrari, alright.

  7. Awww, the bad side of Formula One?

    When as a driver you win races and you win championships there will come a day of recognition when there won’t be a seat for you. Even though you raced well in recent events the time comes when Formula One tosses you aside after successful results year after year. Maybe even a f1champ whether you won a a championship or four. There will be a day of reckoning.

    It’s your turn Seb.

    You are still great but you are on the decline. His only option is to sit out a year and hope for a ride. Probably not so good of a ride either.

    So take the walk Seb.

    Remember your fans and do this with the dignity and for the admiration of what you accomplished. Head high and go out with a smile.

    That’s what I want to see.

  8. Well, Racing Point has no room, but Aston Martin has.

  9. Honestly, what the beep are Racing Point doing here?

Comments are closed.