Aston Martin team boss Otmar Szafnauer said it’s a “shame” they had to let Sergio Perez go, if only you could have three race drivers.
Despite enjoying a fantastic campaign with the team in 2020 under their previous identity of Racing Point, scoring 125 points and picking up a first career win at the Sakhir Grand Prix, Perez wasn’t able to retain his seat for 2021.
Instead Aston Martin called upon the services of four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel to partner Lance Stroll as the team enter their new era.
It seemed as though Perez would cruelly be forced to sit out the 2021 season despite his strong performances, but shortly after the 2020 campaign finished Red Bull confirmed the Mexican racer as Max Verstappen’s team-mate for 2021.
And Szafnauer wishes him the best of luck, saying it was a seat that Perez “deserved”. If it was possible, then Aston Martin would have entered three cars and retained Perez.
“I wish Checo well, he has been a part of the family for a long time,” he said as quoted by GPFans.com.
“He deserves a drive in Formula 1. He has exemplified and illustrated recently what he can do on a racetrack and it is unfortunate that you can’t have three drivers but that is our sport.”
The team made great strides in 2020 after switching to a Mercedes-style aero philosophy, though the relationship did go a bit beyond the regulations with Racing Point picking up a 15-point deduction and 400,000 Euros fine for using illegal brake ducts.
And if it wasn’t for those lost lost points and several missed opportunities, then Racing Point would have likely comfortably beaten McLaren to P3 in the Constructors’ Championship.
Red Bull were a step ahead of Racing Point in 2020, though Szafnauer said it’s Aston Martin’s goal to have Perez in their rear-view mirror this year rather than chasing him.
“We wish him well and hopefully, we can race against him. It will be our goal to make sure he is behind us,” Szafnauer said.
The last piece of the 2021 grid yet to be filled is over at Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton is widely expected to sign a new deal with the Silver Arrows and chase a record eighth World Championship, but official confirmation is still yet to arrive.