70th Anniversary Grand Prix – Sebastian Vettel has explained why he was seen in a car with Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer after last weekend’s British Grand Prix.
Following last weekend’s race at Silverstone, Sebastian Vettel was seen climbing into Otmar Szafnauer’s car and driving away from the circuit. Szafnauer is the CEO and Team Principal of Racing Point, with whom Vettel is strongly linked to be joining next year as they become the Aston Martin works team.
Vettel was also seen elbow-bumping with team owner Lawrence Stroll ahead of the race, in which Sebastian finished a disappointing 10th place.
On Thursday, Vettel was asked about what he had been up to by getting into Szafnauer’s car. He confirmed he had shared a ride with Szafnauer and said: “We were heading to a fuel station. After the fuel station, he continued home and I was going somewhere else.
“[He has] a nice car – a Ferrari Pista, and I remember years ago he was talking about that car and he obviously got one and he said that it was running out of fuel, so I said, ‘Where are you going?’ and we were heading in the same direction, so I was going with him to the fuel station and then went somewhere else.”
Vettel is notoriously canny and smart when it comes to being a step ahead of the media, and cheekily said: “I find it a bit awkward nowadays that people make a fuss out of everything and actually I don’t… see the news in that.”
It’s worth remembering that Racing Point’s factory is just across the road from the Silverstone circuit, meaning it’s entirely possible that Vettel popped off to visit the factory with his future boss. He was asked whether Szafnauer had a contract in the glovebox for Vettel to sign, to which Sebastian laughed and said: “Well I signed something, I’m not sure – he told me it was a waiver in case he crashed. That was a joke – just making sure because nowadays people get everything a bit wrong. From my side, there’s no news, nothing to announce. I’ve known Otmar for a long time and I’ve been in his car before but nobody was interested… If you speak to the people that you know, that’s not uncommon.”
Vettel has downplayed the importance of making a quick decision on his future, with few options to remain in Formula 1. One possibility, which was unlikely anyway, closed on Thursday with Mercedes confirming Valtteri Bottas for 2021. Lewis Hamilton is expected to stay on, meaning the Merc door is closed. Red Bull Racing remains a possibility with team owner Dietrich Mateschitz apparently eager to get Vettel back, but it seems Racing Point is the strongest contender for now.