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Red Bull took "grown up" decision to sign Perez

NEWS STORY
22/02/2021

Making a rare move outside its own young driver programme, Christian Horner says Red Bull's decision to sign Sergio Perez was the "grown up" call.

When Sergio Perez lines up on the grid in Bahrain next month, it will be the first time the Austrian team has recruited outside the ranks of its young driver programme since Mark Webber was lured from Williams at the end of 2006 to partner David Coulthard, who had joined from McLaren just two years earlier.

The Scot was subsequently replaced by Sebastian Vettel - following a brief stint with BMW-Williams - and since then the Austrian team has never looked beyond the talent pool that is the Helmut Marko-led driver programme.

With Alex Albon not providing the back-up for Max Verstappen that the team required, Red Bull was forced to look elsewhere, and by chance Sergio Perez was free after being dropped by Racing Point in favour of Vettel.

"It was a tremendously difficult decision," Christian Horner tells Motorsport.com, "and one that we were fortunate to have time to be able to fully consider. The whole season in fact.

"It's highly unusual for a driver of Sergio's quality and ability to be on the market," he admits. "So, we just felt that we would be better placed putting in a more experienced driver alongside Max as we head into 2021.

"I think it was a grown-up view that we took to go outside of the scheme. And to give Sergio a chance. Obviously he drove so well last year, particularly in the in the last third of the season.

"He's got ten years’ worth of Formula 1 experience," the Briton continues, "I think he's demonstrated his ability to maximise the Pirelli tyre. And, of course, he just brings a whole host of experience, of the podiums that he's achieved and results that he's achieved in cars that have, until last year, been far from competitive.

"I've known Sergio a long time, he drove for my team in GP2 years ago, and I've always followed his career with interest. It was just a matter of circumstances that presented itself as an opportunity and made sense for Sergio to take the seat alongside Max this year."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by F1 Yank, 24/02/2021 16:34

"We shall see how this works out! The way Perez was driving in the last few races last year he was a hot potato! Of course many things went into play with his big win and had they not probably would have ended up much further back. This is a big chance for PER and since McLaren was quick to dump, he has still been able to hold onto a drive and be reasonably competitive. Kenji is right below with his driver list, I have always looked at the Redbull as a raw drivers car and PER can fit in, I was hoping to see Raikonnen in that seat but that has long left. Hulkenberg would have been a good choice as well but the driver feeder program has gotten in the way of keeping the most unique personalities on the grid."

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2. Posted by kenji, 24/02/2021 0:53

"Perez was, to me, a Latin Hulkenberg. Always there but not there enough. He does have a great deal of experience and tenacity and maybe that will be what Red Bull need but will it be enough to help them in the WC's? If nothing else he is persistent and bringing home some bacon is better than none at all. The problem with Red Bull has been their focusing on one driver to the detriment of getting the best of both. We've seen it time after time and since Vettel nothing has worked. It's fine to have aspirations for one driver but when that amounts to alienation it becomes a negative. We've seen it with Webber, Ricciardo, Gasly and now Albon..all for what? The 'golden child' has lost some forecast 'lustre'. Oh!..that's right, it's the car."

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3. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 22/02/2021 16:14

"@Bill Hopgood - I don't think so. He really was disappointing that year relative to what the car was capable of. In the last couple of years I've considered him a top mid-field driver, but not necessarily all there for a regular win contending team. We shall see how he does compared to Max. I predict it'll be like Bottas at Mercedes. He can hang with the team leader on occasion, will beat him once in a while, but most of the time will finish 10-30 seconds behind."

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4. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 21/02/2021 18:12

"Sometimes I wonder if McLaren was too hasty in giving Perez the flick..."

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5. Posted by gt3bill, 21/02/2021 18:12

"yea.. baby max is finally gonna get whats coming to him.... real azz woopin"

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6. Posted by Greg, 21/02/2021 14:13

"Would love to see Sergio take it right to Max"

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7. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 21/02/2021 13:53

"Was smart move and will help with Red Bull sales in Mexico."

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