Sergio Perez says he was not told of Racing Point’s future driver line-up plans until receiving a call from Lawrence Stroll on Wednesday to say that he was no longer required after this season.
Racing Point will rebrand as Aston Martin in 2021 as team owner Stroll looks to promote the iconic British automotive brand he also controls. Ahead of that change, Racing Point has also made moves in the driver market, confirming today that Sebastian Vettel will join the team, following an announcement on Wednesday that Perez would not be continuing beyond the end of this season. Perez had a contract in place until the end of 2022.
“Basically, I got a confirmation yesterday,” Perez said. “Nobody told me anything, but I already knew and figured out a couple of things. The final confirmation came yesterday. And it’s fine – seven years with the team. Everything has a beginning and also an end, and we still have nine races to make each other very proud.
“I got a call from Lawrence. He told me yesterday that they are going in a different direction.”
Perez had previously strongly denied rumors Vettel could replace him, and said that all of the information he had from the team was that he would be staying.
“That was the feedback I was getting, the team wanted to keep me and so on,” he said. “There were some discussions in the background about contracts and so on, which I am not willing to disclose because I think those things should remain between the team and myself. But there were a couple of things in the contract that we went through and they just officially told me yesterday that I am not continuing. I didn’t expect that, but it’s how it is.”
However, Perez doesn’t feel he deserved an earlier decision from Racing Point, even if knowing there was potential that he could be replaced would have helped him make other plans for the future.
“I wouldn’t say disappointed in that regard, because obviously I understand the team has the negotiations going on and they took probably longer than I thought,” he said. “Probably a bit more clarity would have helped regarding my future as well, because then I would have looked for a plan B, which probably wouldn’t have changed anything. I’ve been long enough in this business… it’s part of this crazy world called F1.”