4-time Formula 1 champion Vettel signs with Racing Point

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Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car during the Formula One Grand Prix at the Monza racetrack in Monza, Italy, Sunday, Sept.6 , 2020. (Jennifer Lorenzini, Pool via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Four-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel will drive for Racing Point starting next season.

The team, which will be renamed Aston Martin, announced the move Thursday, a day after driver Sergio Perez said he was on his way out. The team said Vettel has signed for the 2021 season “and beyond” but did not reveal the length of the contract.

“The signing of Sebastian is a clear statement of the team’s ambition to establish itself as one of the most competitive names in the sport,” the team said in a statement. “As a four-time world champion, Sebastian brings a fresh mindset to the team.”

One of the most successful drivers in F1, Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of this season after he was not offered a new contract. He will be replaced by McLaren driver Carlos Sainz at Ferrari next year.

Vettel has won 53 grand prix races, a tally only surpassed by Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton. He won four consecutive titles with Red Bull from 2010-13 and joined Ferrari in 2015 with the aim to win another.

But he never had a car really capable of challenging Mercedes during his stint with the Scuderia, where he lost his No. 1 status as teammate Charles Leclerc came to prominence.

“It’s a new adventure for me with a truly legendary car company,” Vettel said. “I have been impressed with the results the team has achieved this year and I believe the future looks even brighter. I still have so much love for Formula 1 and my only motivation is to race at the front of the grid.”

Currently fourth in the constructors’ standings, Racing Point was handed a 400,000 euro ($470,000) fine and docked 15 points last month for copying a Mercedes design for its brake ducts. The team, however, was allowed to continue to use the offending components this season.

Racing Point’s other driver is Lance Stroll, the son of co-owner Lawrence Stroll.

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