RACING Point, nee Force India, are set to become the Aston Martin works team for the 2021 Formula 1 season after a massive investment by a consortium led by Racing Point’s current owner, Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
Stroll’s $360 million investment gives his consortium a 16.7 per cent stake in Aston Martin, with Racing Point then slated for a re-brand ahead of the start of the 2021 F1 season.
Stroll will also become Aston Martin’s executive chairman.
The move comes 18 months after Stroll and Co took control of the struggling Force India team, rebranding it as Racing Point at the start of the 2019 season with Stroll’s 21-year-old son Lance alongside Mexican Sergio Perez in the cockpits.
Aston Martin, which last had its cars in Formula 1 60 years ago, has been associated with the Red Bull F1 team for some years, so that cosy arrangement will come to a end at the conclusion of the 2020 season.
Aston Martin entered five championship races in 1959-1960, with their best results a pair of sixth places at the 1959 British and Portuguese Grands Prix.
Stroll has been around F1 for years, first through his fashion brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors who had team partnerships, then as the father and financial backer to his son Lance, who entered the sport with Williams in 2017.
When Lance moved up to the better-performing Racing Point, courtesy of his dad buying the team, it retained Perez, but it cost the talented French driver Esteban Ocon his job.
Ocon, however, returns to F1 this year as teammate to Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault squad.
Perez, probably the most underrated driver in F1, will almost certainly be kept on by Stroll for 2021.
The 29-year-old Mexican was the highest points scorer outside of the established top three teams last year.
Last year, Perez scored points in 11 out of 21 races in what was, on average, the ninth-fastest car of the season.
That took his tally of sixth-to-11th place finishes to 106 in 176 starts. No other driver boasts that weight of midfield numbers and makes him worth his weight in gold to a midfield team.
Another not-to-sneezed-at point is that he brings with him significant financial backing.
So far, he’s racked up eight podium finishes, two of them second places, despite spending his entire F1 career in teams finishing from fourth to seventh with Sauber, McLaren and Force India/Racing Point.
His other talents are mastery of tyre management and consistency in races.
Perez is right up there with the best on the grid in terms of his capacity to lap at a good pace while minimising the rear tyre wear.
That often allows him to run longer, faster than others can and minimise his overall race time.
Now in F1 middle age, Perez has that valuable blend of experience with plenty of life left in him, as well as desperation to have the chance to fight up front.
His best chance is to work his way forward with an Aston-inspired Racing Point, or whatever the cars will be called in 2021.
CHECKOUT: Rokit power for W Series
CHECKOUT: Lando all pumped up over secret Santa