The Racing Point team will put its focus on completing the Aston re-brand in the best possible way rather than looking for other drivers for the 2021 F1 season , says team principal Otmar Szafnauer.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has put the racing action in Formula 1 on hold, recent announcements regarding the driver market have delivered hot topics in the action-less time. The key figure has been Sebastian Vettel who announced his departure from Ferrari. The German quadruple champion’s decision has led to further movements as far as the 2021 driver line-ups are concerned.
Carlos Sainz will join the fabled Italian outfit while Daniel Ricciardo will take over the Spaniard’s seat at McLaren next year.
While everyone was trying to put the last pieces of the puzzle to the right place, some suggested that Vettel could join the Racing Point team that is set to be re-branded as Aston Martin works team. Szafnauer said that the team does not intend to make any changes to its driver line-up for the 2021 Formula One season.
„It’s certainly been an interesting few weeks in the driver market, with some headline-grabbing moves out there. I’m sure it’s kept the fans entertained and the media busy – but from our perspective, the headline for next season is the name above the factory doors rather than the names in the cockpit."
Rather than looking for new drivers, the team is adamant to complete the most significant transition in its history in the most successful way. The Silverstone-based team has a long and colourful history. The origins of the current iteration of the outfit lie in the Jordan Grand Prix team, which first raced in F1 in 1991. The outfit was sold to the Midland Group in 2005 before being purchased by the Dutch sports car marque Spyker Cars.
In 2008, the team was renamed Force India after Indian businessman Vijay Mallya purchased the assets of the company. Following legal and financial troubles, a consortium led by Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll purchased the team in 2018.
After Stroll purchased a 16.6 per cent stake in Aston Martin Lagonda, the Canadian decided to rebrand his Racing Point outfit to Aston Martin, meaning that the Formula One field will be joined by another works team.
„We’ve always enjoyed that underdog reputation and we’ve made some fantastic memories along the way. Now, though, we’re looking to the future and building a new legacy worthy of the Aston Martin name. These new financial rules give every team a more equal shot at achieving their potential and that can only be a positive thing for the sport. The future looks bright and our absolute aim is to be at the very sharp end of that future."
Asked how he finds Formula 1’s plan to overcome the financial hurdles presented by the global coronavirus pandemic, Szafnauer said that he believes the package of cost-cutting measures will bear fruit in the foreseeable future.
„Absolutely. I believe the decisions we’ve reached as a collective between the teams, Formula 1 and the FIA have put the necessary processes in place to make the sport more financially sustainable and do so over a timescale that’s achievable for everybody. Ultimately, it’s in all our interests to keep all the teams in business and to continue providing great racing for the fans."