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Perez to leave Racing Point as speculation builds over Vettel


Four-time champion Vettel is said to have been offered a contract.

Sergio Perez is to leave Racing Point at the end of the 2020 Formula 1® season, with Sebastian Vettel reportedly set to replace him.

Four-time champion Vettel is said to have been offered a contract by Racing Point, who will become Aston Martin next year.

Racing Point announced on Wednesday that Perez will be leaving at the end of the season, bringing to an end his seven-year spell with the team.

CEO and team principal Otmar Szafnauer said: "Checo has been part of the Silverstone family for seven years and in that time has become one of the most complete drivers on the grid.

"Blisteringly quick on Saturday and Sunday, he's established his reputation as a tenacious racer and together we have enjoyed some fantastic moments.

"If there was ever a sniff of a podium, Checo was ready to pounce, and those five podiums represent some of the finest days in the history of this team.

"Outside of the car, Checo is a true character and a good friend, and it's been a pleasure working with him for such a long time.

"Although we will say goodbye at the end of the year, there are still nine races to go and plenty of opportunities for Checo to make some more special memories with this team."

In a statement published on social media, Perez said: "Everything in life always has a beginning and an end, and after seven years together, my time with the team will come to an end after this season.

"It hurts a bit as I bet on the team during very rough times; we managed to overcome obstacles and I am very proud of saving the jobs of several of my team-mates.

"I'll keep the memories of the great moments lived together, the friendships and the satisfaction of giving my all.

"I don't have a plan B. My intention is to continue racing here, but that would depend on finding a project that motivates me to continue giving my 100 per cent in each lap.

"I hope I can give you some good news real soon, but for now, let's enjoy together the next races."

Perez, who helped to keep Racing Point from going out of business in 2018, has managed five podium finishes with the team formerly called Force India.

It is thought Vettel, who is leaving Ferrari at the end of this year, will take Perez's place for 2021.