Sebastian Vettel is set to confirm he will drive for Racing Point next season after Sergio Perez announced he is no longer wanted by the team.
Mexican Perez revealed his departure ahead of this weekend’s Tuscan Grand Prix after seven years with the Silverstone-based outfit.
Racing Point will be rebranded as Aston Martin next season and four-time world champion Vettel, deemed surplus to requirements by Ferrari, is now likely to head up the project.
The 33-year-old German is set to team up with Lance Stroll, the son of Lawrence Stroll, a co-owner of the team. An announcement could be made as early as Thursday.
Perez, 30, played a key role in helping Racing Point, previously known as Force India, from going out of business in 2018.
“Everything in life always has a beginning and an end, and after seven years together, my time with the team will come to an end after the season,” said Perez.
“It hurts a bit as I bet on the team during very rough times. We managed to overcome obstacles and I am very proud of saving the jobs of several of my team-mates.
“I’ll keep the memories of the great moments lived together, the friendships and the satisfaction of always giving my all.
“I will always be grateful for the opportunity given to me by [former owner] Vijay Mallya, who believed in me in 2014 and allowed me to continue my F1 career with Force India.
“To the current administration, led by Lawrence Stroll, I wish nothing but the best in the future, especially with the upcoming Aston Martin project.”
Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer added: “Sergio has been part of the Silverstone family for seven years and in that time has become one of the most complete drivers on the grid.
“Blisteringly quick on Saturday and Sunday, he’s established his reputation as a tenacious racer and together we have enjoyed some fantastic moments. It’s been a pleasure working with him for such a long time.”
Vettel heads into Ferrari’s 1,000th Grand Prix this weekend a lowly 13th in the championship.
He will be replaced by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz at Ferrari next year following Charles Leclerc’s emergence as the Italian team’s pick to end a drivers’ championship drought which stretches back to 2007.
But Vettel, who won four consecutive championships with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013, is now set for a fresh challenge.
For Perez, he could be handed a lifeline at Alfa Romeo with veteran Kimi Raikkonen’s future beyond this year in doubt. American team Haas could also be an option.