Racing Point deny Stroll favouritism but admit Vettel-Perez pairing was impossible

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Racing Point has denied the team favours Lance Stroll despite admitting there was no way he could have been dropped for Sebastian Vettel next season.

The Canadian had been struggling to beat current teammate Sergio Perez after moving from Williams last year, although has finished ahead at every race since the Mexican returned after missing both Silverstone races due to Covid-19.

Therefore, when it was confirmed this week that Perez was being dropped to make way for Vettel, the belief was Racing Point were getting rid of their better driver.

“Lance has been with us for a couple of years, he’s a young man at 21 years old and yeah, his father does own the team,” CEO Otmar Szafnauer said explaining the decision to keep him.

“So when we look to make a driver change because Sebastian became available, it would have been Checo because there are options in his contract, and those options didn’t exist for Lance.”

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In a follow-up question then, the American was asked if Vettel should expect to play second fiddle to Stroll when he joins what will become Aston Martin in 2021.

“We’ve always allowed our drivers to race each other, and that’ll be the same in the future," he replied.

“He [Vettel]’s 33 years old, he’s still in the prime of his career, he’s got a vast amount of experience and he’s still highly motivated to do well.

“He works really hard and we believe with our team and what we want to take it to, the level that we want to get to, Seb’s a perfect fit for that and I’m confident that he’ll race well.”

Per Vet

The Racing Point boss though insists though that Perez deserves to be in F1 and his exit will impact the team a little.

“[Sergio] knows the team well, he’s got loads of experience, he’s a tenacious racer come Sunday, he’s a good qualifier, rarely makes mistakes, and brings on the points," Szafnauer said.

“If there’s a sniff of a podium, he’s usually there. So yeah, we are giving away quite a bit and I wish Checo best of luck, he deserves to be in Formula 1. I hope that he can find a spot and we’ll race against him next year.”