Sebastian Vettel has recently renewed his contract and will drive again for Aston Martin in 2022, but what will happen in 2023?
The German driver was rumoured to have signed a multi-year deal with the British team when he joined them last year. However, the announcement of the driver lineup for the upcoming season came quite late in the season, even sparking retirement rumors after pictures of a meeting between Aston Martin's owner Lawrence Stroll and Fernando Alonso's manager Flavio Briatore came out.
At the beginning of September, Aston Martin's Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer had stated that Vettel was on a "one year plus one" agreement with Aston, and that the timeframe to discuss the activation of the renovation clause was approaching.
During the Russian Grand Prix, Szafnauer returned on the topic while talking to selected medias. Asked whether the negotiations for the German driver's contract in 2022 were going to take as long as in this year, he stated he had hopes to have a signed deal earlier in the season, but that he hadn't actually thought about it yet:
"I haven't even considered it. We've just got through this but good question, let me ponder over that over Christmas. We usually don't disclose, out of respect for Seb, the details of his contract and the things we negotiated."
Szafnauer hinted that said discussions could actually start way earlier than it happened this year, during the winter break already, but nothing is set in stone:
"We like Seb, he likes us, and let's see what happens. Like I said, even over Christmas we could contemplate that stuff. Let's have a good year in 2022 and then decide."
He concluded agreeing that reaching a deal with him earlier in the next season could be helpful for both the team and the journalists:
"We'll do that earlier next year. It will help you guys, too. Less questions," he said with a laugh.
The Team Principal also gave his opinion on the potential 2023 race schedule, which allegedly still features triple headers. Szafnauer hopes that the three consecutive race weekends won't come back, but approves of the FIA's choice to give the teams a longer winter break.
"We will see the calendar, it hasn't been solidified yet, but it looks like we're going to start mid March and end in the middle of November, so that in itself gives the travelling team a bigger break in the winter, which should help."
"But, triple headers are never easy, and we should avoid them if we can, so, if it was possible to start mid March and end mid November without triple headers, we should be looking at doing that."
He also added how the 2023 racing schedule would look like if he could be the one to organise it, with as much breaks for the teams as possible:
"I don't know how realistic that is, so let's see what the calendar is when it's solidified, but, ideally, a bigger winter break without triple headers is what I'd want."