Vettel 'close' to retiring but Aston Martin 'gives me the chance' to be competitive

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Sebastian Vettel believes Aston Martin offers him the chance to fight near the front in Formula 1, this after coming "close" to retiring.

In the space of just 12 hours, the future of the four-time world champion was confirmed as first Sergio Perez revealed his departure on Wednesday before Vettel was announced as his replacement early on Thursday.

This ended weeks of speculation since Ferrari decided not to renew his contract back in May.

But while we now know Vettel will be on the F1 grid for a couple more years at least, he admits he very easily could have called it a day.

“Close. I don’t know if there was a measure of how close you can get,” he told RaceFans of how close he came to retiring.

"But it was close in terms of having a lot of thoughts and deciding ultimately I have to put myself first in that regard, what’s best for me.

"And what I have decided now I believe that’s best for me and I’m looking forward to prove that.”

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Indeed, Vettel is joining a team very much on the up at Aston Martin, as owner Lawrence Stroll aims to use the new budget cap and technical rules to fight for wins and even championships.

“It’s a very exciting challenge and I’m looking forward to it. I want to race at the front of the grid, not at the back of the grid, and the team is giving me that chance," Vettel, who has been struggling in his last year at Ferrari, added via

“I think the team is ready to grow and I’m happy to do those things together.

“There is still some exciting news in the short-term, if you look at next year, the first year with the budget cap, we will see how it works and pans out.

“I think the team already this year is a much better place than in the past. It’s a team that is growing, while other teams have to grow down in size if you look at all the big teams.

“So there’s lots of things which make me quite confident and happy but only time can tell.

“It’s an exciting project and I’m sure we will fight for some good results in the near future and in the future after that.”

Of course, one reason why the team under its current guise of Racing Point has been much-improved in 2020 is their controversial car, dubbed the 'Pink Mercedes'.

But when asked if the changes F1 is looking to implement to stop 'copycat' designs in the future may hurt Aston, Vettel was calm.

“Obviously there’s been a lot of talk in the recent weeks about this topic but to be honest this didn’t really play a big role for me because I’m more convinced in the team and the strength of the team,” he again told RaceFans.

“For obvious reasons – not having the money in recent years to perform on a similar level as the big teams – I think they have done remarkably well. There’s definitely enough guts in that team to prove people wrong.

“So I think even with all the things you have mentioned I don’t think they will change things much.

"There’s a huge potential for growth and I’m looking forward to join the team and trying to help with everything that I know, all the experience that I have and what I do in the car to try to grow the team as much as possible that we find ourselves in a competitive spot on the grid.

“Obviously I can’t make any predictions but there’s definitely hope and believe in the team and the people that are there. I think they’re capable and for the first time they equipped with a decent toolset.”