July 16, 2020 / 2:57 PM / 20 days ago

Perez approached by rival F1 team amid Vettel rumours

(Reuters) - Mexican Sergio Perez said teams in and outside the Formula One paddock had contacted him amid speculation he could be replaced at Racing Point next season by four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Formula One F1 - Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary - July 16, 2020 Racing Point's Sergio Perez and Racing Point's Lance Stroll during a press conference ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix FIA/Handout via REUTERS

The 30-year-old driver has a long-term contract — something he noted repeatedly in a Thursday video news conference at the Hungarian Grand Prix — but media reports are persistent in suggesting Vettel is set for the seat.

The German is leaving Ferrari at the end of the year, destination unknown.

“I know I’ve got a contract,” Perez told reporters.

“During the week obviously the rumours came out and we actually got contacted by a team in the paddock. I won’t say names.

“Also other teams in other categories, which was quite a surprise because we have a contract for the next years here. At the moment there are just rumours around. Nothing more to add from my side, other than we got a contract in place.”

Perez’s team mate is Canadian Lance Stroll, the 21-year-old son of billionaire owner Lawrence, whose position looks as solid as they come.

Stroll said he was “determined to stay here” when asked about his intentions, and dismissed the rumours as “part of the circus, I guess... part of the Silly Season.”.

Racing Point principal Otmar Szafnauer told reporters last week it was flattering to be linked to Vettel but both current drivers had long-term contracts and “it would only be logical that we don’t have space.” [nL8N2EH246]

Perez, who is fifth overall and 10 points ahead of Stroll in the standings after two races, said nothing had changed from the team’s side.

“I think I’m with the team, as far as I know I have a contract,” he said. “We will see what happens in the next weeks. From my point of view, I’ve got a contract with the team. I fully believe in the future of the team.

“I think it’s just part of the game... I’ve been in Formula One for 10 years so I am used to this stuff.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge

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