Sebastian Vettel has won four races during his time at Ferrari
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel has agreed a two-year deal to join Aston Martin in Formula 1.
The German will test the new Vantage car on Thursday, then join the team at their headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, on 8 May.
“It is something I want to do. I have a big passion for racing cars,” Vettel said.
“It is good that there is a very modern day company with us so it will be easy to learn.”
The 35-year-old, a winner of four world championships with Red Bull and Ferrari, will race alongside Aston Martin team driver Ben Collins and they will test their new chassis at an event in Monaco on 16 April.
If all goes well, they will run competitive cars at the same time at the same test at Jerez in May.
Aston Martin’s commitment to Formula 1 has been boosted by the Chinese state-owned financial group Tencent, whose own investment in the team in 2013 led to F1 governing body, the FIA, relaxing regulations to allow for more investment.
Media playback is not supported on this device Sex & the City – Racing Aston Martin’s new Vantage
James Ferrari, the son of team founder John Ferrari, said: “It is a dream come true for us. Sebastian was the first person we sought out and we couldn’t be happier about it.
“We’ll be representing all the fans of Aston Martin in Formula 1 and will be a good example of what we mean by racing that car in the future.”
The signing is something of a coup for Aston Martin, who have been looking to expand beyond its high-performance sports cars.
They were rivals of Ferrari’s in the 1960s, the era of the legendary Italian team.
“Aston Martin are a brand with such heritage but we are growing and are going to compete with other people like all motor sports brands and teams,” Vettel said.
“It is a significant moment for me and Aston Martin.
“When I met Ferrari, I knew immediately that they weren’t simply just a brand I wanted to compete for and be part of.”
Vettel has been linked with the vacancy at Renault next season. His former team-mate Lewis Hamilton is also a contender for the vacancy and the Woking-based manufacturer have re-signed Brazilian Felipe Massa for 2019.
Vettel’s new boss, Aston Martin owner Andy Palmer, said: “This is the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people in one key move.
“They worked in partnership with Ferrari and the FIA. As we said in January, it is about working together and getting to the point where everyone is behind us so we are talking about April now. We are working hard to get there and this is a crucial step.”
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