• Sebastian Vettel will race for Aston Martin in 2021.
• Bernie Ecclestone says he encouraged the team to sign Vettel.
• Vettel is experiencing a difficult 2020 with Ferrari.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he helped Sebastian Vettel to secure a seat at Aston Martin for 2021.
The pair have long been friends and backgammon partners, with former Formula 1 supremo Ecclestone revealing on his 90th birthday on Wednesday that he still speaks with quadruple world champion Vettel.
Ecclestone told Sport1: "Yes, we talk on the phone quite often. I listen to him and then give him my assessment of things. I also helped him get the deal with Aston Martin right."
When asked how he helped with the Aston Martin deal, Ecclestone explained: "I really put pressure on Lance Stroll to take Sebastian. I told him how good Sebastian still is and that in the end it will be a win for everyone if the deal goes through. I think my arguments helped convince him."
Ecclestone is not sure why Vettel is struggling so badly alongside his Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc this year.
He said: "Leclerc is certainly a huge talent. But so is Sebastian, and he has more experience. So there must be other reasons. Ferrari has always been a somewhat opaque team where internal politics always play a big role - only in Michael Schumacher's time did everyone pull in the same direction.
"Fortunately, Sebastian has a new challenge at Aston Martin next year. Then he will give the answer to the doubters who no longer believe in his abilities."