Stop or else? Between Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari, it is who will ask the question and fear the answer. Because it seems obvious that between the two protagonists, nothing is going any more today and that one is moving towards a divorce with shared wrongs. The four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel will indeed be at Aston Martin next year, currently Racing Point, leaving Ferrari after six unsuccessful years.
This departure is announced at the time when the Scuderia will celebrate this weekend at Mugello its 1000th Grand Prix, but this in a gloomy atmosphere due to its repeated poor results. And the slope has been rather downward since the start of a season under Covid where even the young Monegasque prodigy Charles Leclerc is struggling to emerge from the peloton.
At 33, the German rider is therefore launching a new challenge by signing for a team that is not yet among the top three on the field, but which, thanks to the means of its owner, the Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, intends to achieve it. .
"Sebastian's signing is a clear signal of the team's ambitions to become one of the most serious competitors in the discipline," said Racing Point, announcing the arrival of its new driver. The team had revealed the day before that the contract of Mexican Sergio Pérez would not be renewed from next year, thus paving the way for the arrival of Sebastian Vettel.
The latter will have spent six years at Ferrari, but without managing to add a fifth title to the previous ones, won between 2010 and 2013 while he was racing at Red Bull. His last season with the Scuderia proved to be particularly difficult, in particular because of a single-seater that did not live up to expectations.
At Mugello the 1,000th Grand Prix
He currently occupies, before the 9th round of the championship at Mugello (Italy) this weekend, only 13th place in the standings of the World Championship.
“I am very proud to become an Aston Martin driver in 2021. It is a new adventure for me with a legendary brand. I am impressed with the results that the team has obtained this year, and I believe the future will be even better, ”said Vettel, quoted in the press release.
Known for his passion for vintage cars and motorcycles, the name of Aston Martin, associated with the richest hours of the British automobile industry and with… cinema with James Bond, certainly did not leave him indifferent. Lawrence Stroll recently bailed out this struggling brand, becoming at the same time the main shareholder.
The fact that the announcement comes just before Ferrari celebrates its 1,000th Grand Prix this weekend at the Tuscan Mugello circuit is unlikely to please the tifosis. For the first time this year, a small number of spectators will be able to enter the circuit while, until now, all the events have been held behind closed doors due to the coronavirus epidemic. They might well reserve a more than fresh welcome for the German pilot.
Indeed, Vettel's final season with the Reds looks like a nightmare, the German driver collecting abandonments and exits from the road and not shy about criticizing the management of the Scuderia. He arrived there in 2015 to replace the two-time Spanish world champion Fernando Alonso who, too, had failed to bring Maranello a world champion title, the last dating back to 2007 with Kimi Räikkönen.
Ferrari has never been able to reach Mercedes' level since the arrival of hybrid engines in F1 in 2014 and Sebastian Vettel had to let Lewis Hamilton collect the honors. The British driver is aiming for a 7th title this year which would make him the equal of Michael Schumacher, who had won five of his seven crowns with the Italian team. Vettel does not hide his admiration for his illustrious compatriot who has not been seen in public since a skiing accident at the end of 2013.
If Racing Point, which was until recently called Force India, has not yet won a Grand Prix, Vettel intends to take this team to the top and, why not, add one or more titles to its list. And she has strong assets for that.
Equipped with Mercedes engines, the best in the field, Lawrence Stroll's team enjoys close collaboration with the German brand, as illustrated by the recent case of the brake scoops. Several competing teams have accused Racing Point of having copied, even illegally obtained, drawings of these parts essential to the braking and aerodynamic balance of single-seaters. Sebastian Vettel will team up at Racing Point with Lawrence's son Lance Stroll, 21.