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Official: Red Bull confirms Sergio Perez for 2021

NEWS STORY
18/12/2020

Red Bull has confirmed that Sergio Perez will join the team and race alongside Max Verstappen in 2021, albeit on a one-year contract.

Current driver Alex Albon remains an important member of the team and takes on the role of test and reserve driver with a key focus on 2022 development, simulator work and tyre testing.

Perez made his Grand Prix debut in 2011 and since then has become one of the sport's most consistent performers and tenacious racers. His recent run of form and victory at the Sakhir Grand Prix made him the favoured choice to join Red Bull, initially on a one year contract.

"Alex is a valued member of the team and we thought long and hard about this decision," said Christian Horner. "Having taken our time to evaluate all the relevant data and performances we have decided that Sergio is the right driver to partner Max for 2021 and look forward to welcoming him to Red Bull Racing.

"Alex remains an important part of our Team as Test and Reserve Driver with a key focus on 2022 development and we would like to thank him for his hard work and contribution."

The official press release didn't contain comment from either driver, with sources suggesting that Albon was only informed of the decision a couple of hours before the official announcement.

The increasingly abysmal Daily Mail ran a story earlier today claiming that the Thai driver faced the "axe" after a "disastrous campaign", but this was the tabloid up to its usual sensationalist click-baiting again.

Albon's biggest problem over the course of the season was his inability to get closer to Max Verstappen's pace, particularly in qualifying. This inevitably led to him having to work harder on Sunday afternoons.

The very fact that he was the only driver to be out-qualified at all 17 races speaks volumes, and this in turn compromised his races.

While Perez has shown remarkable consistency and is now a proven-winner, it is going to be interesting to see how he fares against Verstappen, around whom the team is clearly built.

While there is no doubting the Mexican's pace or race craft, one should not forget his numerous clashes with Esteban Ocon when they were team 'mates' at Force India.

If nothing else, this is a pairing that could provide some sparks over the course of 2021.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by SuzukaS2K, 21/12/2020 16:00

"This is great for Sergio and for F1. Albon was too much of a project and should have been left at the junior Red Bull team (whatever they're calling it this week) for a longer period of time. His racecraft shows flashes but his one-lap qualifying needs a lot of work."

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2. Posted by Tardis40, 19/12/2020 17:26

"The Red Bull chassis should suit Sergio's driving style nicely."

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3. Posted by RobMartin, 19/12/2020 6:55

"This is Hondas best chance of a swansong in F1, aiming for a consistent 2nd and 3rd place which Albon has not been able to acheive. Which is a shame, I like the guy, but at the moment he isn't fast enough. If nothing else, next year we get another benchmark for Max"

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4. Posted by @R1Racing71, 18/12/2020 20:47

"Very disappointed by this decision. They’ve sidelined an exciting up and coming fresh talent for a journeyman driver.
Sorry for Albon, he’s up against the fastest driver on the grid, in a team that’s fully focused on the other car.
Red Bull once again torpedo another promising career as well as their own investment. Indeed we live in some strange times.....
"

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5. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 18/12/2020 18:18

"I did not expect this eventuality as the "noise" from Red Bull was looking OK for Albon.

Also, Perez did say that whatever happens in 21 he had 22 sorted, which explains the one year deal, Perez is keeping his (and his sponsor's) options open.

Now the pressure swings back to Perez to deliver and hopefully he does and pushes Verstappen along too and we see Merc challenged.

Quali is extremely important for Merc in that their cars do not seem to be good following other cars compared to others.

Albon's time at Red Bull reminds me of Perez's time at McLaren: Flashes of talent and what could be but it doesn't seem to go his way.

@Roli, Tsunoda is a Honda driver (and good enough to be given a shot) and as they are in there for just one more year, this was his/their chance to have him in the seat. I wonder if it works out well if Honda will stick around?


"

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6. Posted by Roli, 18/12/2020 16:31

"All it proves is that if youre an up and coming driver, Red Bull is NOT the place to go. Albon has had no chance at all when the best of parts and personnel was always pushed to the other side of the garage. Why wasnt Albon given a seat at their number 2 team ?"

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7. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 18/12/2020 16:09

"I still think the Pink Panthers should have kept him, and dropped Stroll to make way for Vettle. Then we could have seen Hulkenberg potentially in the second Red Bull. That at least would have brought another deserving driver back to F1."

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8. Posted by Burton, 18/12/2020 15:49

"I do agree we will see sparks, and we will also see it at Maranello between Sainz (and his high-profile entourage) and Charles."

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9. Posted by Jet Jockey, 18/12/2020 15:04

"Excellent news! Now I can't wait to see how close his lap times are going to be compared to Max's time next year."

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