SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — The Aston Martin team presented its new Formula One car on Wednesday, revealing a slick livery of British racing green as it returns to the series for the first time since 1960.
Aston Martin left after failing to score any points that year and returns to the grid with high hopes after signing four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel. He has won 53 F1 races but endured a dismal final year with Ferrari in 2020 during which he secured just one podium finish.
“I love the history of motor racing and Aston Martin is one of the great names of the past, so it is fun to be part of their return," Vettel said at the team's online launch on Wednesday. “I have not driven the car yet, obviously, but I think it looks great. I am really looking forward to getting it out on the track.”
He will race alongside Canadian driver Lance Stroll, whose father Lawrence Stroll owns the team after completing a nearly $1 billion takeover last April.
The Silverstone-based team was then rebranded from Racing Point to Aston Martin, and Sergio Perez — who drove consistently well and won one race last season — was replaced by the 33-year-old Vettel.
It will be Vettel's fourth F1 team after starting with Toro Rosso before winning four straight titles with Red Bull from 2010-13 and then joining Ferrari. He fell short of delivering the title the Italian manufacturer so craves, finishing runner-up behind Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton despite leading the championship at the halfway stage in 2017 and '18.
“Even though I have raced for four Formula One teams and for many years, starting a new season with a new team still gives me a sense of excitement," the veteran German driver said. “As a driver, I have always kept my eye on the competition and this team has consistently impressed me with what they have been able to do without the biggest of budgets. So, when (they) approached me last year, and explained what their ambitions were, I was immediately very motivated to join the team."
When the 22-year-old Stroll and Vettel take to the grid in the AMR21 car at the season-opening GP in Bahrain on March 28, it will be the first time Aston Martin will have been on the grid since Roy Salvadori and Maurice Trintignant lined up for the 1960 British GP.
“Aston Martin returning to Formula One after an absence of 61 years will have a powerful effect on the sport, the media and the fans, commanding global attention," Lawrence Stroll said. “We now have the pieces in place, the people and the partners, to make real progress. I firmly believe we have the perfect blend of experience and youth in Sebastian and Lance."
They will get to grips with the car at preseason testing in Bahrain from March 12-14.
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