Racing Point driver Sergio Perez says he’s had an approach from a rival Formula 1 team for 2021 following reports his drive at what will become Aston Martin is under threat from Sebastian Vettel.
The team has long maintained that it is happy with its current line-up of Perez and Lance Stroll, and that both drivers are under “long contracts”.
However, German outlet Bild reported earlier this week that Racing Point has reached out with an offer to four-time champion Vettel, who has been dropped by Ferrari for 2021 in favour of Carlos Sainz Jr.
Though Perez has comprehensively outperformed Stroll during their time as team-mates at Racing Point so far, Stroll’s status as the son of team co-owner Lawrence Stroll means he is considered unlikely to make way for Vettel.
Perez signed a new three-year deal last year covering 2020-22, but the possibility of a break clause has been mooted amid the Vettel links.
Should the Mexican prematurely leave Racing Point, logic dictates he would be in high demand – pairing a reputation as a consistent performer and a race trim specialist with considerable financial backing.
“I think I’m [staying] with the team, as far as I know,” Perez said in a pre-Hungarian Grand Prix press conference when asked about 2021. “I have a contract.”
However, when quizzed whether he was 100% sure and whether he was in discussion with other outfits as a fall-back option, Perez said: “Well, in Formula 1 you never know. Until you’re going to start the race, you don’t know if you’re racing. This is just how things are.
“I know I’ve got a contract. I know that during the week there were obviously the rumours [that] came out and we actually got contacted by a team in the paddock. I won’t say, obviously, names.
“And [teams from] other categories, which was quite a surprise because we have a contract for the next [two] years here.
“But at the moment there are just rumours around. Nothing more from my side, other than we’ve got the contract in place.”
Perez described the speculation about his future as “part of the game” in F1, and said having “big names” linked to his current team was indicative of the progress that Racing Point had made as of late.
Quizzed specifically on what Vettel could bring to Aston Martin next year, Perez said: “Well, he’s obviously a big name in this sport, he has done a lot during his career.
“There is no secret that he’s been extremely lucky as well to have great machinery throughout his career.
“But no one can take any credit [away] from the success for Ferrari he’s had, so I think it’s definitely a good name to have in a team.”
Stroll also faced a series of questions related to Vettel and his future, but for the most part refused to be drawn on it, saying only that he was “determined to stay here”.
“It’s all part of the season, rumours and so on,” Stroll said. “So, as expected, but it’s all part of the fun.
“It’s normal and we’re looking really competitive at the moment, so I’m sure there will be a lot to talk about. We’ll just have to see what happens down the line.”