Sebastian Vettel has admitted to “loose talks” with Aston Martin as he weighs up his options for next year after leaving Ferrari.
The four-time former World Champion is on the lookout for a drive due to Ferrari’s decision not to extend his contract – and Aston Martin, who will be rebranded from Racing Point, appear to be the best available option.
Sergio Perez is the man Vettel would most likely replace, with the Mexican’s current team-mate Lance Stroll being the son of Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll.
At the press conference on the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, Vettel played down speculation that he was about to sign a contract with the ‘Pink Panthers’ but did reveal that discussions were taking place.
“Well, at this stage, I think it’s talks,” said Vettel in quotes reported by Motorsport.com. “I said last week that I had been in talks with Renault for example, so I think it’s also just talks.
“I think at a later stage with anyone, I think then it would get a bit more concrete. But at this stage, the truth is that there is nothing to announce and nothing more concrete than just loose talks.”
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Reports have suggested that a break clause exists in Perez’s contract that would need to be triggered by July 31, but Vettel denied there was any time pressure as far as he is concerned.
“It will probably take some time, most importantly for myself to make the decision, the right decision for myself,” said the German.
“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.
“Anything at this stage is still open. I don’t know, driving next year, not driving next year, maybe coming back or not driving any more. Or, I don’t know, doing something different.
“So I’m not pressured or feeling pressure to make my decision to continue.”
Asked if he felt Aston Martin was now his only realistic chance of securing a competitive drive for 2021, Vettel said: “Well, I think 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. Obviously 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.”