Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll will get equal opportunities when they become teammates at the Aston Martin Formula 1 team next year, according to Racing Point chief Otmar Szafnauer.

On Thursday, Racing Point announced that Vettel would be replacing Sergio Perez for the 2021 season when it completes its rebrand to Aston Martin.

The Silverstone-outfit’s CEO and team principal also confirmed that Stroll’s position was never under threat from the impending arrival of Vettel, adding Perez would have always been the driver to make way.

"Lance has been with us for a couple of years," Szafnauer said on Friday ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello.

"He's a young man at 21 years old. And yeah, his father does own the team.

"So when we look to make a driver change because Sebastian became available, it would have been Checo.

"There are options in his contract, and those options didn't exist for Lance."

"He's in the ascendancy, enjoying his strongest year in the sport so far and sits fourth in the championship off the back of a podium. And there is more potential to come.

"He's clearly demonstrating his talent and is fully deserving of his place alongside Sebastian next year."

But despite Stroll’s family link, with his father Lawrence being the owner of the team, Szafnauer stressed that Vettel will not have to play second fiddle to the Canadian.

Asked whether Vettel will be allowed to race freely against Stroll, Szafnauer replied: “We’ve always allowed our drivers to race each other, and that’ll be the same in the future.”

And Szafnauer believes Vettel will be the “perfect fit” to help take the team to the next level once it transitions into Aston Martin.

“He’s 33 years old, he’s still in the prime of his career,” he explained. “He’s got a vast amount of experience. 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.”

 

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