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Sport

Vettel to join Aston Martin from Ferrari in 2021

(Reuters) - Four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel will race for Aston Martin, the renamed Canadian-owned Racing Point team, on a multi-year deal after leaving Ferrari at the end of the season.

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Italian Grand Prix - Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy - September 3, 2020 Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel during a press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

The 33-year-old German replaces Mexican Sergio Perez, who had a long-term contract but whose departure at the end of the 2020 season was announced on Wednesday.

“I am pleased to finally share this exciting news about my future. I’m extremely proud to say that I will become an Aston Martin driver in 2021,” Vettel said in a team statement ahead of Sunday’s Tuscan Grand Prix at Italy’s Mugello circuit.

“It’s a new adventure for me with a truly legendary car company. I have been impressed with the results the team has achieved this year and I believe the future looks even brighter,” he said.

“I believe we can build something very special together. I still have so much love for Formula One and my only motivation is to race at the front of the grid.”

The statement did not give details but said Vettel, who won his titles for Red Bull between 2010-13, had signed up “for 2021 and beyond.”

Vettel, winner of 53 grands prix, has had a tough time at Ferrari since the arrival of Monegasque Charles Leclerc, with the youngster beating him on wins, podiums, points and poles last season.

Ferrari have struggled this year but announced in May, before the season had even started, that Vettel would be leaving at the end of the year. He will be replaced by Spaniard Carlos Sainz from McLaren.

Mercedes-powered Racing Point are fourth overall after eight races, with Ferrari sixth.

“Happy to know you’ll be around next year! Let’s finish this doing our best together,” commented Ferrari on their Twitter feed.

Sunday’s race will be Ferrari’s 1,000th world championship grand prix and also the 250th of Vettel’s career.

At Aston Martin, Vettel will join Canadian Lance Stroll -- whose billionaire father Lawrence owns the team and is executive chairman of the British-based luxury sportscar maker famed for its association with fictional secret agent James Bond.

Vettel will not be the first world champion to have driven for the Silverstone-based team, who started out as Jordan in 1991 and have gone through various incarnations.

Michael Schumacher -- Vettel’s boyhood idol, compatriot and eventual seven-times world champion -- started out at Jordan in 1991 while Britain’s 1996 champion Damon Hill raced for them in 1998 and 1999.

“Everybody at Silverstone is hugely excited by this news. Sebastian is a proven champion and brings a winning mentality that matches our own ambitions for the future as Aston Martin F1 team,” team principal Otmar Szafnauer said.

“Sebastian is one of the best in the world and I can’t think of a better driver to help take us into this new era. He will play a significant role in taking this team to the next level”.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin; editing by Alex Richardson, Jason Neely and Christian Radnedge

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