Sebastian Vettel backs Mick Schumacher to replace him at Aston Martin

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Sebastian Vettel has backed Haas driver Mick Schumacher to replace him at Aston Martin when he retires at the end of this season.

Vettel announced his retirement on Thursday and has 10 races left before leaving F1.

The news means there is a vacancy alongside Lance Stroll at Aston Martin next year and there is much speculation as to who will fill it.

Vettel, who is close to the Schumacher family and grew up idolizing Mick’s father Michael, said he spoke briefly to Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll about a possible successor.

“Of course I spoke to Lawrence and told them I wasn’t going to continue,” Vettel said. “We had a very, very brief conversation about what might be next.

“I have my opinion. I appreciate Mike very much. I’m not entirely objective of course because I’m very close to him, but I think he’s a great driver.

“He’s a learner, he keeps learning when others falter or stop making progress. So he has a lot of qualities, but he’s also very young.

“So I don’t know. It’s not my decision. If I’m asked, I’ll give my opinion, but in the end it’s the team that has to make that decision.”

Schumacher currently drives for Haas but will not be under contract with the team beyond the end of this year. Haas team boss Guenther Steiner said Vettel’s decision to leave Aston “doesn’t change anything for us” and said he and team owner Gene Haas would make a decision by September’s Italian Grand Prix.

“We will know what we are doing by the end of the European season and then we will communicate it,” said Steiner. “We need to start talking to Gene about it and discussing the different scenarios of what we’re going to do.

“It has become standard to talk about it, but we will take our time.” Sebastian Vettel backs Mick Schumacher to replace him at Aston Martin

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