September 23, 2021

Aston says it’s “100% nonsense” new Vettel F1 deal is in doubt

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The four-time world champion is in talks with Aston Martin to finalise an extension of the long-term deal that was originally signed for the start of this season.

With the terms of the contract requiring options to be taken up on both sides to roll into its second year, the two parties need to finalise certain aspects before the deal is set in stone.

But the delays in sorting matters out with Vettel have prompted talk that there could be sticking points in the discussions, and that could mean them not getting the contract across the line.

Speaking at the Italian Grand Prix about those suggestions, Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer was adamant that there was nothing to worry about – and said his outfit was so relaxed about matters that it was not looking at alternative scenarios.

“Absolutely 100% nonsense,” said Szafnauer about suggestions of there being tension in the discussions with Vettel.

“We don’t have a plan B. He doesn’t have a plan B. There is absolutely zero friction. You can ask him, and I am confident he will say he absolutely loves it here. It’s just a matter of working out some of the details.”

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Szafnauer explained that the delay in finalising the deal was simply down to the nature of complicated F1 contracts, and the need to agree on the tiniest of clauses.

“It was a multi-year deal, but there are options on both sides,” he explained. “So when you have options on both sides, then there’s some details that you negotiate up to the deadline of your time window. That’s exactly what’s happening now.

“We’re just having detailed discussions leading up to the point where the option expires. So I think before that happens, we will announce something.”

Szafnauer expects the new Vettel contract to be announced before the Russian Grand Prix, and was clear that if Aston Martin was pondering a change of drivers it would have opened talks with other candidates.

“If there was any doubt in our minds, then in July, when all these other people were thinking about: ‘oh should I go to Williams or should I go to Alfa Romeo’, or all that kind of stuff, we would have been having those conversations. But we didn’t.”

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