The Hungarian GP press conference had the usual talk about F1 seat with Sebastian Vettel right in the center of schemes with Racing Point and Haas drivers.
The last few days has been volatile in terms of the driver market for 2021 and beyond, with Vettel being the center of attraction. In fact, ever since he was not retained by Ferrari, the German has been linked to almost all the F1 teams on the grid.
It looks unlikely with Mercedes as Red Bull Racing has mostly said no too, while even though he held talks with Renault but they opted for Fernando Alonso. He was then linked to the likes of Racing Point/Aston Martin, Haas and even Alfa Romeo Racing.
It was not so much with the latter two, as much as the former. Aston Martin has a settled line-up of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, both of whom have contracts for 2021, but the reports say that the Mexican can be still dropped if they seriously want Vettel.
At the same time, things about Perez has come out that his manager is also in touch with couple of teams, including Haas. The American outfit’s F1 future, though, is still not 100 percent, which is what Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen indicated as well.
The whole contingent spoke candidly as much in Hungary as quoted by medias like Racefans.net, Motorsport Network, The Race, AMuS, Sky Sports and more. First up we have Vettel, who admitted about talks but didn’t add more.
On the whole Racing Point/Aston Martin rumour:
Vettel: “I think rumours are called rumours for a reason. So, I think now only a couple days after Austria there is not much that has changed. So given you mentioned that I was talking at length, there’s no probably no point for me to expand on this but..the fact is that there’s no news. If you ask about Racing Point, I think everybody’s talking about Racing Point, I think the first two races have been impressive, the performance on track.
“But when it comes to myself then as I said there’s no no news. Nothing has changed within a week, and I said last time that it will probably take some time, most importantly for myself to make the decision, the right decision for myself. And then once there is something to announce, something to say, then I think that will be the right time in the future to do so.
“But anything at this stage anything is still open. I don’t know, driving next year, not driving next year maybe coming back, or not driving anymore. I don’t know, doing something different. So I’m not as I said I’m not pressured or feeling pressure to make my decision to continue.”
Whether Aston Martin is realistic and Red Bull snub:
Vettel: “I think you there’s two ways to look at it. One is on paper obviously which seats there are and which are not. I think for that I probably have too little information in terms of contracts and what are people’s contracts and so on, but the other one is I think I’ve been around for a long time and you never know.
“So obviously, you know, things can always change and, I think, irrespective of that I need to make the decision myself and then obviously see whether there’s something suitable in that direction. As for Red Bull, all I said was my honest and open opinion and, you know, as I said coming back again it will depend on you know what options there are what, what I want to do and then to find the best solution for myself. I think that’s my key priority.”
If Toto Wolff pushed to talk with Aston Martin:
Vettel: “While I think in some way, you can say that everyone is close to each other in the paddock so, I think, given the fact that I’ve been around for such a long time I came across most people, not all probably, but most people. So it doesn’t need anybody’s initiative to get to know somebody or to get in touch. So, in that regard is probably helpful that I’ve been around for a while and know most of the faces and people.”
Is there a vacancy at Racing Point/Aston Martin, Renault protest can sway:
Vettel: “At this stage I think it’s talks. I said last week that obviously I’ve been in talks with Renault for example so I think it’s also just talks. I mean, you know, I think, at the later stage with anyone I think then it would get a bit more concrete, but at this stage I don’t think this.
“The truth, truth is that has nothing to announce and nothing more concrete than just loose talks. As for the protest, I don’t know what is the really behind the protest and I think it’s up to the FIA to decide. Obviously I’ve heard that Renault filed or put in a protest, but I don’t know if it has any merit. I don’t think so.”
Moving on to the Racing Point/Aston Martin F1 drivers, both Perez and Stroll stuck to having contracts but the Mexican added that he has had talks not only from rival teams but also outfits from other championships to know when these rumours surfaced.
Contract set but speculations still:
Perez: “I think I am with the team as far as I know as I have a contract and I think the answers to these questions will only be in time. We will see what happens in the next weeks but from my point of view I have a contract with the team and I fully believe in the future of the team.”
Stroll: “I am determined to stay here.”
Management looking at options, frustration of speculations:
Perez: “In F1, you never know until you’re going to start the race if you’re going to be racing. This is just how things are. I know I’ve got a contract. I know that during the week, obviously the rumours came out, and we actually got contacted by a team in the paddock, and I won’t say obviously names, and also other teams in categories, which was quite a surprise, because we have a contract for next year here.
“At the moment, there are just rumours around. Nothing more to add from my side other than we’ve got a contract in place. As for frustrations, I think it’s just part of the game, the team has taken a good step forward. So it’s good, you know, to have a big names related to the to the team because that means that we, we are making a good job. We’re making progress. And I think the team should be proud of it. So and the rest, I think I’ve been in F1 for 10 years, so I’m used to this stuff.”
Stroll: “It’s part of the circus, I guess. It’s all part of the silly season. You know, rumours and so on. So I know as expected, but now it’s all a part of the fun, you know. It’s normal, and we’re looking really competitive at the moment. So I’m sure there will be a lot, you know, to talk about and yeah, we’ll just have to see what happens down the line.”
Team said anything and if Vettel joins the project:
Perez: “No, from the team side, nothing has changed. Everything is clear. There really have nothing more to say really. As for Vettel, I think he’s obviously a big name in this sport. He has done a lot during his career, there is no secret you know that he’s been extremely lucky as well to have the great machinery throughout his career. But no one can take any credit from the successful careers he’s had so I think it’s definitely a good name to have in the team.”
Stroll: “That’s a question for management not really for me.”
On Haas side, both Grosjean and Magnussen spoke more about the future of the F1 team rather than the speculations of maybe losing their drives to Perez or anyone else. Guenther Steiner did not wish to add anymore to the rumours but praised Perez’s work.
Talks with Haas and future:
Grosjean: “It’s funny, it doesn’t matter the year, how many races we have done, Hungary is always the place where you get asked the question! There’s something about here. First, we’ve only done two races. Obviously the on-track performance is what you can show to the outside world. I think there are a lot of question marks here. Let’s get rid of the elephant in the room: is Haas going to be here next year or not?
“That’s obviously a question. What are the other places available? Obviously the market got shaken up quite quickly this year, with the Ferrari announcement and the following things. We will see what are the opportunities. Personally, I’ll see what also I would like to do and what I’d feel like doing in the future. I guess yeah, looking a little bit, but also not rushing everything and seeing how things are going.”
Retention concerns from Haas amid its future decision:
Grosjean: “No, I think yet the decision hasn’t been made I believe. So, you know, there’s nothing to be said. We just need to go racing in races as we did in Austria and get the best out of the team, out of strategy, out of the drivers and show the best we can do. But obviously, at the end Gene knows the answer, I guess or doesn’t know. But he will tell the answer at one point.
“And until that point, I can’t really give you any direction but I hope obviously for F1, I hope for everything that Haas will be on the grid next year. Out of all the new teams that came to Formula 1, it’s obviously the one that was the most successful, the most solid baseline. So there’s definitely a place for Haas in Formula 1. But again, I’m not the one taking the decision. So time will tell.”
Magnussen: “Concerns not really, I mean, I think I’ve now got a little bit more experience in F1 and grown up a little bit. So I don’t get as concerned about these things as I used to when I was younger, but I think as a team there’s a bunch of people in house that are hoping to see the team continue. And, you know, I like that job and like the team and of course, looking forward to some news and to see whether it continues or not. I don’t know. But I hope that the chances are good and I feel like we’re doing well.
“As Romain said, Haas has been fairly successful in a very short amount of time as a completely new team, not taking over a previous team, starting up with a new team and doing well from the beginning it has been really impressive to see. And, of course, I’m hoping to continue but as I said, I think I’ve grown a little grown up a little bit and feel more at ease in these situations. You can never predict the future. And so I think just about enjoying the moment and then hope for the best in the future.”
Here’s latest on Sergio Perez links
Here’s news about Sebastian Vettel and Racing Point/Aston Martin
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