Szafnauer: Our drivers are contracted for 2021 but ‘watch this space’

Otmar Szafnauer insists both Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll are contracted to drive for Racing Point in 2021, but the team boss isn’t ruling out a change in the future.

Earlier this week, rumors of talks taking place between Racing Point and Sebastian Vettel for a possible association in 2021 gathered momentum, with the German driver confirming the hearsay in Hungary, although he qualified the talks as “loose”.

Friday’s team manager’s press conference provided an opportunity to query Szafnauer on the matter, with the American sending a bit of a mixed message to reporters.

    Vettel admits to ‘loose talks’ with Racing Point

“They are both contracted and we are happy with the drivers we have,” Szafnauer said when asked about the status of the contracts of Perez and Stroll.

“It is the silly season already, which I can’t fathom as we have only done two races, and we are already talking about driver changes.

“But we are happy with the two we have and they are contracted.”

It was revealed earlier his week that an exit clause which could be activated by the team reportedly exists in Perez’s contract. But Szafnauer gave no indication that the Mexican’s deal could be terminated prematurely by Racing Point.

“Like I said, he’s contracted,” said Szafnauer. “Checo’s focus is to do the best he can this year with our car.

“I think he’s had two great races. Checo has to focus on the task at hand, which is qualifying the best we can and putting good races in.”

On the other hand, when pressed on the possibility of one of his drivers potentially leaving the pink squad at the end of the year, the Racing Point team boss didn’t discard the possibility outright.

“It’s tough to predict the future,” he explained. “What they need to do is do the best they can. They are contracted.

“Watch this space, we’ll see where we go. But our intention is never to not honour our contracts.”

On Vettel, Szafnauer highlighted the four-time world champion’s qualities.

“He definitely knows how to win,” he said. “He’s very competitive. I know him as a friend, he’s a lovely guy.

“I’ve known him for a long time, he’s straightforward, honest and can be very fast – he’s a four-time world champion.”

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