F1 legend Gerhard Berger says Racing Point bosses have made the right decision to replace Sergio Perez with Ferrari refugee Sebastian Vettel for 2021 and beyond.
Across the paddock at Mugello, sympathy for Mexican Perez’s ousting is significant.
It appears that Vettel knew for some time about his 2021 Aston Martin deal, as he said it was exciting to “finally” be able to share the news.
Perez, on the other hand, said he was “surprised” to get the call as recently as Wednesday from team owner Lawrence Stroll.
Before that, “They had told me that they wanted to continue working with me,” Perez said at Mugello. “That was the feedback I got all along although of course I noticed that something was going on.”
Daniel Ricciardo said on Thursday: “Obviously for Sergio it’s already quite late.
“It’s September already and while he still has time to find another seat, the vacancies are getting smaller.”
Perez admits that he would have appreciated “a little more clarity” from officials at Racing Point – to become Aston Martin next year – about obviously wanting to sign Vettel.
“It would have been nice to have a little more time to develop a plan B,” said the Mexican.
“There are still a few options, but I don’t expect a quick solution as I want to take my time to make the right decision. But once you’re out, it’s hard to come back.”
As for Vettel, who admitted on Thursday that he thought hard about retiring, Berger thinks Aston Martin bosses have made the right choice.
“Aston Martin is one of the biggest names in the automotive scene, but it (signing Vettel) is still a big coup for them,” the former Ferrari and McLaren driver told f1-insider.com.
“Congratulations to Lawrence Stroll, Toto Wolff and the others who are behind it. They will have an advantage from Sebastian’s skills that should not be underestimated.
“I am convinced that the team is better than the results show this season,” Berger added. “A Vettel would already have won a race with it.”