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Stroll's seat was never in doubt

NEWS STORY
12/09/2020

As news that Sergio Perez has been dropped in favour of Sebastian Vettel still sinks in, many are questioning whether the team ever considered dropping Lance Stroll, even though he is the son of team owner, Lawrence Stroll.

Team boss, Otmar Szafnauer admits that this was never an option.

"Lance has been with us for a couple of years," he told reporters. "He's a young man at 21 years old, and yeah, his father does own the team, so when we looked 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."

Referring to Vettel, he said: "The idea came up after Ferrari announced that Sebastian would not be racing there next year and we saw that as an opportunity.

"Lawrence does have a big say in what the team does as he is the majority owner, but it was a collective decision in the end, but he does have other people that he asks their opinions and it was a collective decision.

"He's 33 years old," he said of the German, "he's still in the prime of his career, 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 and the level that we want to get to Seb's a perfect fit for that and I'm confident that he'll race well.

"With Aston Martin coming in and a bit of financial backing behind the team, we've a new factory happening in Silverstone, improving the team, and adding 20% more personnel," he continued. "We've got some infrastructure too that we're embarking on to make us go faster. And therefore, a driver like Sebastian, who brings with him the experience of winning four world championships and 53 races, can only be beneficial for us.

"He will help us take that next step that we all need to take in the coming years, such that we can consistently race among the top three or top four teams."

Asked if the pair will be given parity, he replied: "We've always allowed our drivers to race each other and that'll be the same in the future."

Szafnauer took the opportunity to pay tribute to Perez.

"Sergio knows the team well," he said. "He's got loads of experience. He's a tenacious racer come Sunday. He's a good qualifier, rarely makes mistakes, and brings the points.

"If there's a sniff of a podium, he's usually there. So yeah, we are giving away quite a bit. And I wish Checo best of luck, he deserves to be in Formula 1. I hope that he can find a spot and we'll race against him next year."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Mugello, here.

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