Sergio Perez is riding on a high tide. He had the best season of his illustrious F1 career in 2020 which culminated in a maiden race win in Sakhir. Though Racing Point tainted it at the start by ending his three-year contract, he is now landing back on his feet with Red Bull.
Red Bull is not a team that likes to have drivers outside of its own talent pool. This time too, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner wished to give Alex Albon the entire season in the car to find his feet.
So, they waited until the end of 2020 to evaluate all the data, eventually concluding that Perez performed better than Albon.
“Looking at the delta between our two drivers and given Sergio’s strong performances, particularly in the second half of the year, we made the decision that Sergio had earned the 2021 seat,” said Horner.
With this, the Team Principal hopes they can consistently compete with the dominant Mercedes next season. Aside from Max, the second car has not consistently performed to their expectations set by Ricciardo, before he left in 2018.
So, with Perez, they wish to make that right. The Mexican is now a veteran of 10 seasons with almost 200 races under his best. Though qualifying isn’t his greatest asset, he comes alive in the race with his supreme tire-management skills.
This leaver Horner optimistic for next season. “We need to field the strongest team possible in order to take the fight to Mercedes. Sergio’s experience will be crucial next season and we look forward to welcoming him to the Team,” he added.
However, it will take more than a change in drivers for Red Bull to truly knock Mercedes off their perch, whose engine is still class-leading, along with star driver Lewis Hamilton, who is considered the ‘G.O.A.T’ by many.
Red Bull will need to come out all guns blazing in 2021, and deflecting from their rigid driver recruitment program is a start.