RACE DEBRIEF

    It was one of F1’s worst kept secrets, but earlier this month, Racing Point announced the signing of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel to lead the team into their new era as Aston Martin F1 Team, with boss Otmar Szafnauer saying the German will bring “1000 little things” to help lift the team to a different level.

    Dropped by Ferrari, Vettel will extend his stay in F1 for at least two more years, replacing Sergio Perez at the Silverstone-based team and driving alongside billionaire owner Lawrence Stroll’s son Lance. And Szafnauer can’t wait for Vettel to get started.

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    “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,” said Szafnauer.

    “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.”

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    In signing Vettel, Racing Point had to part ways with Perez, a driver who has scored five of the team’s six podiums and had become part of the family. Szafnauer admits it was a difficult decision but ultimately, it was one that was done in the best interests of the team.

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

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    Perez will make way for Vettel at Racing Point next year, when the team becomes Aston Martin

    “It will be tough [to say goodbye to Perez]. 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. 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.”