Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Perez’s loyalty matters to Racing Point – Szafnauer

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In the round-up: Amid speculation Racing Point might drop Sergio Perez for Sebastian Vettel, CEO Otmar Szafnauer says their long-standing driver’s loyalty does matter to the team.

What they say

Perez joined the team in 2014, when it was called Force India, and has been their top points-scorer of the last five years. Szafnauer will ask what factors will influence whether the team decided to keep him for the 2021 F1 season:

I think the fact that he’s got a signed contract will be a key factor that makes me keep him. But I know what you’re asking.

Sergio’s been loyal to us, he’s been here for a long time, he’s a great racer. He works well with Lance [Stroll] and he helps Lance. So I’m sure all those factors do matter when people make decisions.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Eric sees nothing wrong with Racing Point’s careful cloning of last year’s Mercedes.

To me this was a completely logical business decision. Under financial pressure and with fairly new and ever evolving technologies in hand, Racing Point had a clear and obvious path to follow.

I’ve seen pics of both ducts from an F1 app article and they are different. As different as AlphaTauri to Red Bull and Ferrari to Haas which were also shown.

To me this is ultimately a symptom of a woefully bad financial structure left to us by previous agreements. Hopefully under new financial restraints we’ll get back to a formula that is more individually creative and a better representation of F1 in a historical context.
Eric (@fletch)

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 33 comments on “Perez’s loyalty matters to Racing Point – Szafnauer”

    1. How about Vettel to IndyCar ala Nigel Mansell?

      1. OK, but what about the concrete walls on the ovals, not as kind as F1 run-off-areas that Vettel frequents ?

    2. Wow thanks Keith! My first written cotd.
      I have been watching F1 since 1997 and saw my first race in 98.
      I’m hopeful that the new regs and caps will create the best F1 racing I’ve ever seen.

      1. Good stuff Eric,

        It was also incredibly bold of them to do so, as it tested their ability to integrate their understanding of the Merc car, and their own manufacturing processes, and turn it into equivalent speed.

        Their all-in efforts could just have easily not worked as well as they have, with fundamental, misunderstood issues and ruined Lawrence’s plans!

    3. Marko: “As good as we are in marketing, Formula E is for us only a marketing excuse from the automotive industry to distract from the diesel scandal.” putting the boots into VAG.
      Just as well Honda worked OK, I guess we’re not going to see a Redbull/Porsche anytime soon.

    4. As soon as a Team Principal starts talking about loyalty and value of a driver, that driver should probably be concerned about the hammer dropping.

      If they are considering a change to their drive lineup, I really hope they asses their current drivers on merit and make a decision based on skill and contribution on track. Surely that’s what shareholders actually deserve.

      Well I can dream…..

      1. @dbradock

        If they are considering a change to their drive lineup, I really hope they asses their current drivers on merit and make a decision based on skill and contribution on track. Surely that’s what shareholders actually deserve.

        I doubt that will happen as well. Lance has actually made a decent start to the season, which makes it easier for Force India to justify their decision once they dump Perez. It’s a bit of a shame that Perez finally gets some competitive machinery and he isn’t going to be around to drive if for much longer.

        1. Oh I agree and he’s surprised me a little that he’s been pretty close to Perez if not as good as. That’s why I actually said “asses current drivers on merit” – if (and its still a big if) one has to go then may the best driver win.

          If however over the season Lance’s performance isn’t close to good enough then management needs to factor that when it comes to maximising their 2021 performance. They can’t afford to have a non performer. At this stage he’s doing well enough in that car – if he can keep it up he’d be safe.

          1. I agree. Their performance comparison has to be done over the course of the year. Lance had a DNF in the Austrian GP, Sergio was sick in Hungary.
            Apparently, Sergio’s contract has an exit clause with the deadline in July this year–that ends before the British GP. I just hope they dont replace him.

        2. I honestly expected with RP being the 2nd fastest this year that we’d see Perez fighting for 3rd and Stroll struggling in 6th -7th and really being shown up. That hasn’t happened so far. Stroll has generally been a couple of tenths slower than Perez throughout practice but on race day, it’s very tough to split them.

          I also think Perez/Stroll or Vettel/Stroll would be a better team than Vettel/Perez. Vettel and Perez would fall out almost immediately.

        3. This is tough for Perez who has always been loyal and never crashed on his own or into his teammate.

    5. I still don’t think any race this year could happen with spectators in attendance.
      I also go by the fact both are under contract, hence, don’t expect changes in this team, and stick to my prediction that Seb isn’t going to be racing in F1 next year.

      1. Lance doesn’t have a contract for next year…..

        1. @macleod According to Otmar, he does.

          1. @jerejj, But Lance Stroll himself said he doesn’t have a contract for next year but he wasn’t thinking of next year but this year.

            1. @macleod He said that he isn’t ‘locked in,’ which could mean that but could equally mean something different, so that wording wasn’t entirely clear. Despite some contradictions, I still rather go by Otmar’s words in this case.

      2. I dont see why a small amount of spectators cant be present every gp. its not an indoors event. Huge grandstands totally empty but could easily have 1-5% of the seats occupied without being a risk at all.

        Maybe it’s all about image, as can be seen from the first few races. So many instances of total contradiction of social distancing rules.. even a video example in this article.

        1. Contradictions and cases of just going way too far with it all, from watching coverage of the last few races if you didnt know you’d think there might be some sort of zombie apocalypse disease that’s on the loose like from the movies.

          Well untill you see the contradictions that is lol

        2. What would be the point complicating the event and risking the whole show for a handful of spectators?

      3. Infact not only are they outdoors but race tracks cover many acres of land, it’s not like an evenit in small park or a carnival or concert.. it’s just an image issue for F1 and so on.

        1. It’s not the problem when people are at the track. The risk is when they travel to get there and the entry into the track. Queues?

          1. Outdoor queues with masks, though. Everyone has seen some of these in supermarkets even during lockdown.

            1. Quite a difference if you have queus for food, or for fun. Masks don’t work as good as keeping distance as the rising number of cases in lots of countries show.

    6. Don’t believe there is any benefit hiring Seb instead of Serg – they are both on par and you could argue that Perez has a better run over the last few years of putting incident free races together.

      It would make much more sense to drop Stroll into a third driver/test position and have the two team up.

      1. Lol Perez is barely capable of getting on the podium. Vettel won a race in a Toro Rosso. Perez couldn’t handle a McLaren in decline but still capable enough. Perez is another Hulk. Good driver but below the level required of a champion.

        1. …and Kimi won a WDC. We’re talking about 2021 not 2008.

        2. Perez has 8 podiums and nearly beat Alonso with a Sauber in Malaysia 2012. I’m also pretty sure that was the last time a Ferrari customer was on the podium.

      2. From a marketing perspective a 4 time works champion had much more weight than Perez, even if there’s potentially little difference in performance. Ultimately they are in F1 to sell cars as much as they are to race. Perhaps if they were focusing on selling AM’s to the Mexican Market over the European Perez would be ideal… I’m guessing that won’t be the case. If I were papa Stroll, I know who I would hire..

    7. Ofcourse Perez has been loyal, after the McLaren adventure he had nowhere else to go. Except perhaps Williams or Sauber, who are even more cash strapped.

      It’s nice that his loyality matters to the team, but does it matter to the one paying the bills?

    8. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      23rd July 2020, 12:34

      “Perez’s loyalty matters to Racing Point! Now may he prove that loyalty further by graciously stepping aside.” – Otmar Szafnauer, probably.

    9. So what is next step? He will be stepped aside in loyal fashion?

      Now that he finally have a car capable of a victory.

    10. If perez loyalty matters, then I hope racing point does the right thing… Put stroll on the sidelines for a year or 2 and let better drivers develop the car. Stroll can comeback after, he is good enough for f1, but overall not as good as perez or vettel.

    11. Perez and McLaren
      Perez joined McLaren at the worst time in the Team’s history, the car was a dog, the Team dysfunctional and not even Jason B could do much with it. Funny how no one mentions how “terrible the WDC was that year” and how “Jason couldn’t help McLaren” that year. Both drivers were in shackles by the car / Team. Judging any of the two drivers that year is unfair and crazy.

      Loyalty to FI / RP
      Shortly after McLaren, Perez got picked up by FI, and Perez was extremely grateful for the opportunity, that’s when the loyalty to the TEAM started.

      A couple of years ago Perez declined an offer from Renault and decided to stick to FI/RP so he is not only loyal but wise. The only reason why Hulk went to Renault is because they couldn’t get Perez. I am not bashing Hulk, I like Hulk, wish his fortune with Renault had gone differently though. Same story with Hass and Esteban Gutierrez, rumor is that a few years ago
      they wanted Perez and got Gutierrez.

      Perez latest comments
      What baffles me is Perez latest comments, his own words put him out of the Team already. He is being honest but maybe oversharing his thoughts, I would prefer him to go with “no comments” than “it is obvious that if one has to go it won’t be Lance” “I am a father too and I wouldn’t do that to my son”…. that doesn’t help to his cause.

      Aston Martin
      In a pure business sense RP/AM wants to market Vettel and don’t care much about the Team or results and on the other side of the coin Vettel wants to remain active to jump to a top Team in 1 ~ 2 years, ’cause a I am sure he too would have and use an exit clause.

      AM is in trouble financially, yes Stroll injected capital but the AM (not the RP/ F1) vehicle factory is still at risk of laying off hundreds (600) of jobs. The brand future depends on the success of their new SUV / CUV. The AM brand is in trouble and they would have to check how Infinity faired with Vettel as their brand ambassador, did they sell more cars because of him? Is Infinity better now because of Vettel? If so, the move is a no brainer, if not, then the move deserves questioning and extra consideration of the current driver lineup.

      RP …. Racing? or just a (marketing) Point?
      I personally wish Perez gets retained at RP. Almost no one talks about Ferrari firing Vettel (not renewing his contract). Or Horner / RB categorically and publicly saying they are not interested on Vettel at all. Or Mercedes confirming not being interested in Vettel by saying they are working on the contract for Bottas. That’s the 3 Top teams not wanting a 4x WDC… and 2 of those teams opting for younger drivers (Sainz, Albon) who have never won a F1 race, what does that tell us? more importantly, from the racing and performance stand, what does that tell AM ?

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