Vettel-Racing Point speculation intensifies; Perez looking at other options

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Sebastian Vettel is in talks with Racing Point -- the team set to race as Aston Martin next year -- over a move in 2021, leaving Sergio Perez to consider options elsewhere.

Germany's Bild newspaper, usually well-informed of Vettel's intentions, suggests negotiations are at an advanced stage and a deal could be announced in the coming weeks. Vettel currently is without a race seat for the next Formula One season after Ferrari opted not to renew his existing contract.

Sources close to Perez have told ESPN Mexico he is aware of the Vettel negotiations and is already looking at fallback options. Perez has a contract with the team until 2022 but, according to multiple reports, there are clauses in his contract Racing Point can break.

Racing Point is owned by Aston Martin stakeholder Lawrence Stroll, whose son, Lance, is Perez's teammate and is believed to be on an long-term deal with the team. Stroll was key in bringing the Aston Martin name back to the grid for next season.

The team has made a clear step up the pecking order this season and appears to have replaced Ferrari as F1's third best on raw pace. Racing Point is the subject of an ongoing FIA investigation into the legality of its car, triggered by a Renault protest.

A move for Vettel would leave Perez with limited options for next season. McLaren, Renault and Ferrari have confirmed their 2021 lineups, while Mercedes is expected to continue with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for another year. Red Bull is yet to confirm its second seat alongside Max Verstappen but rarely strays away from its pool of junior drivers.

Haas could be an option for Perez, who has held talks with the American team in previous seasons.