Racing Point dropped their “higher performing driver” – Brown

2020 F1 season

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McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says Sergio Perez’s departure from Racing Point is “unfortunate” because he has performed better than team mate Lance Stroll.

Perez will be replaced by Sebastian Vettel in the team’s line-up next year. Racing Point CEO Otmar Szafnauer said today the team never considered the possibility of dropping his team mate instead, as he is the son of team owner Lawrence Stroll.

Brown said Perez, who raced for McLaren in 2013, “is an extremely good race car driver and racer.

“I think it’s unfortunate that he lost his seat because of the two drivers he’s the higher performing driver. But as we know his father doesn’t own the the racing team so when they wanted to bring in Vettel, it was clear that Perez was going to be the guy to go.”

In Stroll’s first season at Racing Point last year, Perez outscored him 52 to 21 and out-qualified him 18-2. Stroll has out-scored his team mate so far this season by 23 points, 10 of which he scored in the two races Perez missed following his positive Covid-19 test.

Perez has previously expressed an interest in competing in IndyCar. Brown said he is willing to offer him a drive in the McLaren SP team.

“I think he’ll probably end up in Formula 1, is my guess, at either Haas or Alfa Romeo,” said Brown. “But if he had an interest in IndyCar, I think he’s a great race car driver and we definitely be interested in talking to him.”

“We would need the funding for three cars and at this point we only have the funding for two cars,” Brown added. “So we wouldn’t be in a position to sign him today.

“But it would be something that, in between the backing that he’s historically had and the commercial activity that we’ve got going on and the excitement someone like Sergio would create, we would certainly look to see if we could put it together.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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39 comments on “Racing Point dropped their “higher performing driver” – Brown”

  1. An open job offer to Sergio, wonder if he’ll consider it and if slim will front for a 3rd car in the team.

    1. I imagine he would be great there in McLaren. I wonder what Oliver Askew thinks about it though.

      1. Depending on the next US election result it could potentially open doors to Indycar returning to Mexico too.

    2. @captainpie the comments from Brown about getting funding for running a third car in IndyCar is pretty on the nose – it’s about as subtle as shouting “Oi, Slim, pay us and we’ll give Perez a seat”.

      1. As well it seems Zak Brown has been on a mission to run down RP at any opportunity this season, particularly over the tracing issue. Oh I’m sure he is being genuine with what he has said of Perez, but now he is slighting Lance, not just Lawrence, with his comments. And if RP ends up ahead of Mac in the WCC, oh boy, the air will be awfully blue around Zak, no question.

  2. What are your opinions on how this move reflects on RP? I think choosing a driver for who they are related to over how they perform on track makes them seem non-serious. It makes RP seem like Team Stroll.

    1. History has shown F1 teams prioritise pay drivers over talent. Your mistake is forgetting lance stroll is a pay driver, and RP could do much worse. I don’t see Williams getting any heat for hiring Latifi. But I think a lot of commenters find something especially wrong with lance, because his father owns the team. Which is very interesting, to me, as I don’t consider lance any different than a traditional pay driver, in fact, I rate him higher because he is actually decent.

      1. I think the above commenter is more referring to vettel, who proved inferior to perez in the last few years, and in this case there’s not even the money excuse: vettel costs more than perez and I’m not sure if he even compensates that with marketing, cause is spinning every other race and driving terribly slow good publicity?

      2. If Williams manages to make a better car, attracts sponsors and gets more money from their WCC position, they would fire Lafitti for a better performing driver.

        If Racing Point/Aston Martin make a championship winning car, Stroll will have a guaranteed seat even if he crashes out of every race.

        That’s the difference.

      3. Stroll is pretty decent, considering he got the drive due to obvious reason.

        I have no issue they decide to drop Perez, but why Vettel? At what price?

  3. I’m not surprised they replaced Perez but I am surprised they replaced him with Vettel.

    After all, Lance has a sister with no drive for next year.

    1. 😂😂😂 Brilliant comment

    2. Will she also get 4th in points by the age 21? If so she sounds promising as well.

  4. Who else dropped this “high performing driver” ? Oh, wait… Always to joker, that Brown

    1. Perez was dropped by Ron, long before Brown had anything to do with Mclaren..

      1. He was dropped by Martin Whitmarsh, Ron rejoined McLaren in the early 2014 when the drivers lineup for that season was already chosen.

    2. He said “higher performing driver.” Perez wasn’t the higher performing driver at McLaren – he was beaten by Button.

      Perez is the higher performing driver at Racing Point because he has consistently beaten Stroll and yet Stroll is retained and Perez is given the boot.

  5. Checo is in his absolute prime while Lance is 21, it’s no surprise Checo’s been the better racer. And today’s silliness with Kimi was all too typical. Midfield or Indycars is his level, that’s why McLaren dropped him.

    But anyway the issue is whether Vettel is a good swap, I think it’s a no-brainer as long as the Aston Mercedes is going to have good stability, which it probably will.

    1. @zann

      Well perez was the better racer last year for sure, but I don’t think anyone could say he’s been better than Stroll this year.

      If you discount points for Stroll at races that Perez didn’t take part in as well as ignoring the latest lucky result for Stroll, then Stroll would have 32 points. Perez would have the same. And that is before noting that Stroll had a retirement in the first race which will have cost him at least 4. He admittedly should have got a 5 second penalty in Styria – so lets remove two. That would still leave him 2 points ahead of Perez.

      Stroll was admittedly lucky in the latest race, but it has to be said, Perez couldn’t pass Kvyat and pace wise seemed nowhere near Stroll once Stroll had got going after his mistake. Perez likely would have got a better result had it not been for the safety car, but I still would probably say Stroll is having the better season so far.

      The most interesting thing is as you point out – the age difference. Perez probably should be at his best by now and Stroll has clearly improved and is only 21 – so still has potential. I really do think Stroll has got the potential to really surprise a lot of us in a few years time. I doubt he will be one of the best, but think he will be significantly better than most people’s expectations originally were for him.

      1. Yes fair points @thegianthogweed. Tbh I was sidestepping the issue of Checo not really doing any better this year, but I agree. I don’t rate him, at the level Aston is aiming for. Lance did win F3 once upon a time, at least, and although we’re all dead jealous we’re all the outcome of our parents aren’t we, with genes, upbringing and resources. Lewis needed Anthony, Kmag needed Jan, etc etc.

        And would Checo have made it if he hadn’t been Mexican and had all that sponsorship? Zak is even saying he can be a pay driver in Indy.

  6. PER jas been pay driver for more money than most due to $$ from his sponsors.
    His a decent driver but no more, NOT outshining Stoll on his second year.

    1. You forget he lost 2 races in the season, multiple mechanic problems, and team orders and tactics in favour of Stroll jr.

  7. Perez is basically a pay driver himself and never really excelled in anyway. It’s no great loss not having him on the grid.

    1. Is vettel really driving any better than a pay driver atm? Guess we’ll find out next year.

      1. I think when Vettel is confident and happy, he’s in the top 5 or 6 on the grid. When things aren’t going his way, he seems to lose a few tenths and doesn’t look special anymore. Perez is an average driver – he’s like a less reliable Bottas.

        Vettel at his peak beats Perez every time in my opinion but I’m not convinced we’ll ever see him at that level again.

    2. I was thinking the same thing but wanted to shield discussion readers from my negativity!
      I’ll just say I’m looking forward to see Seb at AM next year and that I hope he will silence us critics.

      1. He won’t as what critics do basically is look for something else to cry on.

        When he was winning folks like you kept crying, when he wasn’t you felt justified, that also wasn’t enough he’s moving teams and now and what you are waiting for is for him to silence you never going to happen.

  8. So next year when they change the team name to Aston Martin, will they loose the historic points make prizes Column 2 payment. Remembering this is still hotly disputed re the new but not new change to Racing point.

    At least Vettel can stop learning Italian.

    1. rpaco, no – the team name can be changed when the team submits their entry for the 2021 season.

      Racing Point had already changed their entrant name between 2019 and 2020, as have multiple other teams – in fact, you see teams pretty frequently change their entrant name to match their latest title sponsors.

      The Alpha Tauri team did not forfeit their Column 2 payments when they changed their name from Toro Rosso to Alpha Tauri this year, nor have Williams, Alfa Romeo nor Renault lost their payments despite changing their sponsor name between 2019 and 2020. Similarly, you’re not going to see Renault lose their payment rights when they rebrand to Alpine in 2021 either.

      It’s only an issue if you’re trying to change your entry name during the season, although there are some circumstances where teams are allowed to change that – but if it is between seasons, then it’s fine.

  9. I think Stroll has done a good job this year. I didn’t like him, but he is growing on me. He was much better than that turd Hulkenburg and was the equal of Perez this year. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him on par with Vettel.

    1. Lol turd Hulkenburg had Stroll on race pace after 6 practice sessions and 2 quali. Had it not been for poor strategy that RP did on purpose Hulk would have beaten Stroll in his first race.

      1. At that race, Stroll pitted 3 laps after Hulkenberg.Their strategies were both poor if you think Hulkenberg’s was… Despite Stroll being the one in dirty air following Hulkenberg, he looked after his tyres better and Hulkenberg had to pit due to serious blistering with his tyres that won’t hae made it to the end despite running in clean air the entire stint.

        1. @gianthogweed

          he looked after his tyres better

          That’s a myth. Hulkenberg had absolutely no problems in his first stint on hard tyres, and that stint was quite a bit longer than his second stint. The blistering he developed in the second stint was very sudden, and had to be taken care of immediately. Also, you yourself pointed out after the race that you were willing to give Hulk leeway because it was literally his first time racing in that car and on those tyres.

    2. Agreed. I think Stroll has shown that the issue at Williams was the car, and, as it works in racing, give a driver a better car and he can better show his stuff. eg. Even though Max had his worse start by far last weekend, LS made a great pass on him in the first lap. Max ended up passing him back the next lap, but still I thought the way LS passed Max was quite impressive. Whether LS eventually shows he has ‘it’ remains to be seen, but he’s no slouch. And he’ll only get better. What I have also noticed is that even though he has had some of his best races and finishes this year, you can tell he’s only so satisfied with that, and really wants to be amongst the tops. This isn’t just some rich kid’s hobby for him. This is his (and his Dad’s) passion. And I think money only goes so far without that passion.

  10. All of the “wise guys” here bashing Sergio (whom are totally losers compared to him) I would say: chill out, he has for sure a couplebdoors open, being F1 or Indy Car, and whichever decision he takes its for sure what suits him best.

    I only wish him the best, the guy has worked hard to reach where he currently sits at, and no one can take that from him.

  11. let’s all be honest here. Right now the worse performing driver of the 3 has been Vettel. Lance has stepped up huge this year and I know he gets a lot of flak but even if you take away his points he got during Checo’s absence then he would still have more points. Lance is young and still developing yet already showing good results. That makes him the most valuable driver of the 3.

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