Racing Point: No July 31 exit clause date in Perez contract

Luke Smith
motorsport.com

Racing Point is currently in talks with Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel about joining the team for 2021, when it will rebrand as Aston Martin, despite having two drivers under contract already.

Both Perez and current teammate Lance Stroll have long-term deals with the team, meaning an exit agreement would have to be struck with one of them if a deal was struck with Vettel.

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Perez said last week that it was “obvious” he would have to leave Racing Point to make room for Vettel, given Stroll’s father, Lawrence, is the team owner. 

It had been rumoured that a clause in Perez’s contract stated any exit must be confirmed by July, with that date falling on Friday.

But Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer confirmed that speculation the option to release Perez had expired on 31 July was incorrect. 

“We usually don't like to disclose the details of our contracts,” Szafnauer said when asked about the trigger date by Motorsport.com.

“But I'll take this opportunity to tell you that option that you talk about expiring today is not true. That's not the case.”

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Perez and Racing Point have been coy about discussions over their future together, with both parties reiterating repeatedly that a valid contract remains in place for 2021.

Perez previously confirmed there were clauses within his contract that did allow for an early termination of the deal, largely relating to sponsorship agreements.

Racing Point appears to be the best opportunity for four-time world champion Vettel to remain on the F1 grid for 2021 after Ferrari opted against extending his contract beyond the end of the year.

Vettel said on Thursday at Silverstone that he was “not in a rush” to make a decision about his future.

“it's probably realistic to be patient and wait a little bit," Vettel said. That could be a couple of weeks. That could be longer than that. Again, time will tell.

"Nothing has changed to what I mentioned in the last three weeks or prior three races. I'm not in a rush. I want to make sure that I make the right decision for myself, and then take it from there.”

Perez is absent for the British Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19, with his seat being taken by Nico Hulkenberg for the race weekend.

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