Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Mugello, 2020

How Perez accidentally learned of Vettel’s cut-price Aston Martin deal

2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000

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A key element of the 2021 driver market fell into place as the Formula 1 teams arrived at Mugello for the ninth round of the championship.

The identity of Lance Stroll’s team mate at the-team-to-be-known-as-Aston Martin has been confirmed: Sebastian Vettel will replace Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez at the Silverstone-based squad.

But how did Perez lose his seat to Vettel, given he signed a three-year deal just last season? And where will he go now?

Perez is driving better than ever and indisputably deserving of a competitive berth. The problem is that apart from a potential seat with one of three currently bottom-ranking teams – Sauber, Haas or perhaps Williams – he seems to have no other realistic options. While Perez’s Mexican backing would be most welcome at any of the trio, his benefactors are unlikely to be overly enthusiastic about spending a total of $20 million, including the driver’s stipend, on a back-marking team.

Taking a sabbatical could be another option. He and wife Carola have two children and he surely would welcome the opportunity of spending more time with them, regardless of circumstances.

But is that really what he wants at this stage of his career? According to Perez’s circle this alternative is not even on his radar, having admitted earlier this week that he had not even considered a ‘Plan B’.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2020
Vettel will swap Ferrari red for Aston Martin green
The circumstances surrounding the team’s decision to not exercise the option on Sergio’s services are perplexing, with sources both within his camp and the team being adamant it was a split decision. It seems Aston Martin shareholders, more concerned about the value a four-time champion would add to the brand’s image, overruled team management on the basis of ‘paying the piper’. Thus the decision fell in favour of Vettel.

On Thursday Perez rather cryptically said: “Nobody told me anything, but I already knew and figured out a couple of things. Final confirmation came [on Wednesday].”

How did he “know” if he hadn’t been told? Therein lies a rather humorous tale related to RaceFans by two different sources with no connection to each other: It seems the option on Perez’s service expired on August 31st but Racing Point requested an extension, granted by the driver, until midnight on Wednesday prior to Mugello.

Then, last Sunday in Monza, team owner and Aston Martin chairman Lawrence Stroll instructed the team’s legal counsel to prepare documents to sign up Vettel. He outlined specific terms and conditions, including an annual retainer of $1.5 million, plus performance bonuses and a separate Aston Martin ambassador agreement.

Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
How much are F1 drivers earning in 2020?
However, the Canadian’s booming voice apparently resonated through thin walls between adjacent rooms and was heard by various parties, including the Mexican and others. Thus Sergio “knew” without being “told”. Plus, he finally understood why his backing was no longer the factor he had hoped: Had Vettel pushed for higher retainers from the team, Perez’s contribution could have proved decisive.

As matters stand, Aston Martin – in which Stroll has a 25% stake – covers the largest portion at an estimated $5m in ambassadorship. The team, wholly owned by the Stroll consortium, is in for a mere fraction of that. Plus, a Ferrari winner and four-time world champion is undeniably a more attractive proposition as ambassador than a podium placer, regardless of the latter’s speed and skill.

Does all this reduce Perez, arguably the most able current non-race-winner on the grid, to a year on the side-lines or condemn him to an also-ran team? Not necessarily: There is the intriguing prospect of a drive potentially opening up at Red Bull Racing, which needs to balance hard results (income) versus the preference of deploying drivers from its development ranks.

With Ferrari out of realistic contention for the top two championship places this year and next – at least – Red Bull should be a shoo-in for a minimum of second place during that time. But with Racing Point’s ‘Pink Mercedes’ due to continue racing, having been pronounced legal for next year despite the protest which went against them last month, Red Bull Racing could well find itself in a close fight with Aston Martin as well as a resurgent McLaren, the latter also Mercedes-powered from next year.

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Red Bull therefore need drivers able to push each other and squeeze the absolute maximum out of the car. Currently the team has one such driver, Max Verstappen, who has left respective current and former team-mates Alexander Albon and Pierre Gasly trailing. Not only has this compromised the team on strategy, but also in terms of points: to fight Mercedes power, Red Bull needs to maximise every opportunity.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Mugello, 2020
The rising threat of Racing Point concerns Red Bull
What, then, are the chances of Perez partnering Verstappen? On the surface a long shot, but dig deeper and contact exists. Perez’s manager is the exceptionally astute Julian Jakobi, who not only managed Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, but did so simultaneously. Jakobi is well-connected to Horner and the rest of Red Bull’s senior management via various shared drivers past and present.

Perez’s Mexican sponsors – primarily companies within the group controlled by Carlos Slim, the world’s fifth-richest man and Latin America’s wealthiest individual – do not clash with Red Bull’s portfolio. The driver is popular amongst Hispanics in the USA, Red Bull’s largest market.

Asked by Germany’s Motorsport-Magazin whether Perez was under consideration by Red Bull, Helmut Marko, the company’s F1 consultant, said they were not actively engaged in a “driver search”, but admitted talks with Jakobi had taken place.

F1’s new prize money structure, which comes into effect from next year, pays bonuses based on a 10-year period to those who finish in the top three places in the championship. It is therefore crucial Red Bull extends its four-year run of top-three finishes or its earnings will be reduced.

Significantly Horner did not discount recruiting drivers from outside its junior programme when asked during the Friday FIA press conference in Mugello.

Christian Horner, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Horner indicated Red Bull could hire an ‘outside’ driver
“Our preference has always been to nurture talent,” he said. “Whether that’s Sebastian Vettel, whether that’s Daniel Ricciardo, whether that’s Max Verstappen they’ve come through the junior programme, they’ve been schooled by Franz [Tost, AlphaTauri team principal] and they’ve always done well in Red Bull Racing’s seats. So our preference is always in that home-grown talent.

“[But] if the pool isn’t big enough then of course, occasionally, you have to look outside of it. But our intention is absolutely to work with the talent pool that we have.” Note the words “preference” and “intention”, rather than a definitive statement.

While various scenarios could see Perez accommodated at Red Bull, the most likely is that Daniil Kvyat, who has already been recalled to F1 once after initially being demoted from Red Bull and then benched for a year, will finally be shown the door. Albon would head back to his previous team, this time alongside Gasly at AlphaTauri. That would create a top-line berth for Perez.

Should that come to pass, it would surely be a most satisfying outcome for Perez, to slide into the seat Vettel originally had set his eyes upon immediately after Ferrari dropped him.

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2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000

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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...

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131 comments on “How Perez accidentally learned of Vettel’s cut-price Aston Martin deal”

  1. A multi-billionaire can’t keep his voice down about a finance deal in a posh hut? Pull the other one. It’s got bells on.

    1. a figure of speech perhaps. I don’t pity Perez, he knew the game and how to play it. I’ve seen stronger drivers lose their seat.
      Sergio was given a championship winning car, he had some chances he blew them.
      I called it in Austria, Perez couldn’t afford to not deliver on such promise.
      Vettel is dreadfully slow on this Ferrari, he does not deserve this seat but, Vettel can be vettel again, at the end of 2014 as the RB got better, vettel got to Ricciardo’s pace.
      If Stroll is beating Perez then Vettel on a good car is going to do the same.

      1. I’ll give you the “championship winning car” but RP are definitely still operating in small team mentality.

      2. Completely disagree with pretty much everything stated here. 1, Perez has never had a championship winning car. 2, Vettel was comprehensively outdriven by Ricciardo in 2014 throughout the season. 3, Stroll has been very fortunate of late, and Perez unfortunate – very few people would say Stroll is beating him on pure merit.

        Unlike yourself, I do feel sorry for Perez who has been a consistently strong performer(not something you can say of the man replacing him).

        1. You are spot on. Lance is learning but it is his 3rd year. His underperformance in Italy reflects his lack of talent compared to the more experienced Perez. Perez’ ability to preserve tires has served him to use stategy no one else can, resulting in 8 podiums.

      3. What stronger Drivers penny?

      4. Vettel did not get to RIC’s pace. He was outperformed in every category.
        And RIC was brand new to RBR and got no favours just like Webber yet he still crushed VET.
        VET continued to fail at Ferrari – not a driver in the class of HAM , ALO and RIC for that matter.

        1. And yet RIC got beaten by Kvyat, a rookie RBR driver in 2015 and was trounced by Max during RIC’s final year with RBR.
          Does this mean RIC is actually a worst driver than both Kvyat and Max? I personally dont think so but it is hard to argue with the facts when it is presented as such.

          1. When was Ric trounced by Max? In 2018 DNF’s were 8-4, Danny had 2 pole positions Max 0

    2. @Witan If Lawrence is used to working in buildings with proper walls, I can believe that he may have underestimated the conductive capacity of motorhome walls built 12 years ago for a completely different boss (it dates from Vijay Mallya’s first year in office; while Vijay wasn’t known for his whispering, he was accustomed to conducting business on his yacht without tipping off partygoers in the corridor connecting cabin rooms about his business).

  2. A lot of fuss has been made about a pay driver.

    Hulkenberg was forced out of Renault for Ocon.

    Perez has been forced out by a 4 time champion.

    Perez had a very long career and should count himself lucky.

    1. Lucky, what? He’s better than vettel and has no titles or wins, all in virtue of the luck of finding himself in the best car!

      1. He’s not better than Vettel.

        Perez had a chance to win a race Malaysia 2012 but bottled it. Couldn’t handle the pressure. Would have cruised to victory.

        Vettel had a convincing win in a Torro Rosso in 2008. He took his chances, Perez didn’t.

        Same when he went to McLaren.

        1. Perez ended up with 3 podiums that year. Two 2nd and one 3rd, in a Sauber, the team that at the end was just 6th best. The only way to compare drivers is by judging their performances against team mates. That’s where Vettel is losing big time, not now, for years! Even when you could say Pérez was not as good as Ocon, at the final standings he did better.

          Besos

        2. David Bondo, there were those who speculated at the time that the message that those on the pit wall at Sauber sent Perez – “Checo, be careful, we need this position, we need this position” – was a coded instruction from the team to back off from chasing Alonso.

          We know that Ferrari has often exerted political pressure onto Sauber, given that Sauber has a close financial and technical relationship with Ferrari – one that goes both ways, with Ferrari not only providing Sauber with engines and transmissions, but with Ferrari also having rented Sauber’s wind tunnel in the past for aerodynamic calibration work.

          The split with BMW meant that Sauber was in a rather precarious financial situation, with rumours of cash flow problems – and one area where they were reported to be having problems with payments was in paying Ferrari for their engines.

          It has resulted in some suggesting that Ferrari might therefore have leant on Sauber to call off Perez during the closing laps of that race, resulting in that particular message. Now, whether or not you believe that theory is up to you, but it is a theory that is sometimes put out there about the events of the 2012 Malaysian GP.

          1. anon,
            I think those rumors suggesting Ferrari have pressured Sauber to tell Checo not to chase Alonso were mainly issued because the radio message coincided with the critical error Checo made which cost him the race. However, from what I remember, FOM confirmed that the message was sent 2 or 3 laps earlier before it was displayed which in that case indicates that Checo was really on it and he didn’t back off. It’s normal that they reminded him of the importance of the second place. Mclaren last week issued a similar message to Carlos Sainz jr when he was chasing Gasly for the win.

            That said, Ferrari have indeed done something similar with Sauber in the 1997 title decider when they presumably told Fontana to deliberately block Jacques Villeneuve when possible which he did indeed. Fontana stated that Jean Todt came to the Sauber motorhome before the race and told him to do so. Villeneuve also said that Fontana came years later and apologized to him for his actions.

            In my opinion I don’t think that Ferrari may have pressured Sauber to win the 2012 Malaysian GP simply because the F2012 at that stage of the season wasn’t a race winning car and it was too early in the season to do that. The engineers couldn’t figure how the airflows behaved on that car and the win was down to Alonso being extraordinary at exploiting the circumstances of the race.

          2. @tifoso1989 it is a theory that I’m similarly doubtful of and think it unlikely that it was a coded message – though, as you note, given Ferrari have exerted political pressure on Sauber in the past, there is just enough of a remote possibility that it could have happened that it cannot be ruled out as a theory.

        3. Lance Stroll could have won Monza but buckled under pressure.
          Vettel had numerous chances to win races 2015-2019 where he blew it.

          Yet we talk about one freak incident and opportunity 8 years ago.

          1. Correct. Then Seb wrecked into Hamilton due to emotions. He can be a mess at times. Bad move.

      2. @esploratore perez pedigree? Hulk was a top junior, so was Di Resta, Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg. Some seasons champions don’t deliver though middletons almost never do.

        1. So because PER botched ONE race you say he couldn’t handle the pressure? Talk about a small sample size.
          How many races did Vettel botch. Easily double figures. Choked in Canada against BUT and HAM, choked in Germany against HAM, countless spinouts for no apparent reasons.
          He’s over rated because of the 4 WDC’s in a car that suited him.
          He’s overpriced and over the hill.

          1. How many races did Vettel not botch? *chuckles*

          2. “How many races did Vettel not botch? *chuckles*”

            Clearly not enough to stop Ferrari giving LeClerk a five year contract and showing Vet the door.

            Vettel’s current stock value is there for everyone to see in the Ferrari driver choice. Maybe he’ll get his Mojo back at AM Racing, I hope so. Meanwhile Perez has performed solidly this year, i.e. solidly mediocre, and at the same time his teammate is sitting in fourth in the standings behind the Mercs and the ‘worlds greatest driver’ ™ (*chuckles*) Verstappen. Even if you added the same number of points Stroll scored in Perez’s Covid cancelled races to his total he’d still be well short of Stroll, which isn’t a great claim.

            I doubt I’d ditch Perez for Vettel at this point, but I suspect this is as much about marketing Aston Martin as it is about the race results.

      3. Are you serious lol? Vettel has had 3 bad years in F1 (2014, 2019, and 2020). Last year was Vettel’s fault but this year the car is more suited to Leclerc. Vettel will thrive and hopefully return back to his old self at AM. I am sick of your people saying Vettel is not good. These youngsters may be getting the best of him right now but once they win a WDC then we can talk. And if you guys are gonna say Vettel only won because of his car and he is not good at passing people, think about Monza 2008, Brazil 2012, and Germany 2019. IMHO Vettel is one of the greats so stop saying he is not good just because he has a few bad years.

        1. Very likeley Vettel will retire as one of the grates, while many current promissing young drivers will never see results of a great driver. Mostly because of their underperforming team.

      4. Checo has never had a strong car..just good and bad luck of F1 and a rich Dad

      5. Perez is _not_ better than Vettel. Vettel has won 4 WDCs, Perez hasn’t even won one race.

        1. Semi-detached Bill
          13th September 2020, 11:31

          ‘The past is a different country’

          Meanwhile in the hear and now Perez has more than double the points of Vettel, despite not even starting 25% of the races!

          And before you say it’s because of Vettel’s car I urge you to think about what he and Perez were driving when Vettel won his championships…..

          Ergo, by your logic Perez at this point in time looks like the better choice, no matter how good Vettel used to be.

          1. Would you seriusly bet over a season, same car Perez would win over Vettel?

  3. A miracle has to happen for Sergio perez to join the red bull, and Helmut Marko is thick headed like Lawrence stroll and he won’t take drivers outside that easily, currently their junior drivers has just started in F2, tsunoda from Japan and jehan from india, tsunoda is good has some podium finishes already in F2 , jehan has not shown much promise this season, so redbull gonna choose only between Pierre gladly or albon, So Marko is thick headed to accept that his junior drivers are not much promising and take a driver from outside. Gasly or albon is good but they are not able to match verstappen.

    1. That’s true, but not written in stone: David Coulthard or Mark Webber are examples of that!

      1. But is Sergio perez a Coulthard or a Webber?, Because to convince Marko it’s not easy, the problem is verstappen has been so dominating and red bull being very screwed towards verstappen you need a guy like Webber or Coulthard to go toe in toe with your team mate.

      2. @James Coulee That was long time ago. Webber joined the team from Williams for 2007, but after that, no other driver has joined RBR from a team other than the B-team, so unlikely.

    2. Red bull may have drivers in F2 but the next next/first step for those drivers in f1 is alpha tauri, not the red bull mothership. Red bull needs a good driver alongside max and that driver is not albon, gasly nor kvyat. Perez is available, he is the better than the alpha tauri options even if it would be just a one year contract. I don’t see perez doing as badly as gasly or albon are/were doing at red bull.

      1. Indeed, perez should be just a fine number 2 at red bull!

        1. With Perez at Red Bull that would be a solid lineup but I can’t see it happening.

        2. But the Perez ego will hamper that I am afraid.
          He does not suit a role as wingman.

    3. I’m not sure those drivers have the necessary FIA points to get an F1 superlicense, though

      1. @liko41 it depends on Tsuonda picking up his performances in Formula 2 – he entered this season with 28 points, so he needs to finish in at least 5th place in Formula 2 to secure enough points for a superlicence.

        He had been in 4th, but he has now slipped back to 6th place – the drivers are not separated by much, so although it might not take a large points swing for him to gain several places, it also wouldn’t take a lot of lost points for him to drop several places. If he does end up in 6th in the championship, then he’ll fall short with just 38 points – and 2021 would then see him fall back to 31 points, since he’d then lose 7 points from his 2017 Formula 4 season.

        Jehan Daruvala is also falling a long way short of meeting the superlicence requirements. He also entered this season with 28 superlicence points, so he also needed a top 5 finish in Formula 2 – unfortunately, he is currently languishing in 15th place in the standings with just 24 points, over 100 points off 5th place right now. He is also due to lose 7 points at the end of this year, meaning he will drop back to 21 points.

        Strangely, nobody seems to remember that Red Bull does have a driver who is eligible for a superlicence right now, and that is Juri Vips – but only if he applies for it now.

    4. The Red Bull academy has produced drivers like Verstappen, Vettel, Ricciardo. Why wouldn’t you trust the process.

      Perez is a pay driver. I doubt he would have cut it in a program as ruthless and competitive as the Red Bull academy.

      1. Well not so much Verstappen, he was rushed into the program and F1 to lure him from Mercedes’ grip.

      2. I suspect the line between being a Pay Driver and a Paid Driver is much more blurry and ambiguous than you seem to suggest. For example I believe Fernando Alonso was associated with the sponsorship of Santander, so when he moved to Ferrari Santander’s sponsorship went with him.

    5. Checo is a driver with a good to excellent
      sponsor package and he has quality not in his qualy speed but his race craft is outstanding .
      He fared faborable compsred to Hulk, Ocon, Kobayashi, but struggled at Mclaren against Jenson Button which clearly was a big mystery in a year of transition with a subpar car .
      can he do better than Gasly at RB could ?

    6. I hope Albon turns out to be the guy, I really, really think he seems to be a fine young man and certainly has potential. Fingers crossed he has a good race tomorrow.

      However, understanding RB’s 2nd driver situation, which itself directly extends to the future of it’s 1st driver, I don’t know they can afford to keep him next year if he doesn’t improve his consistency across the entire weekend, and qualify and finish close to Max.

      If he doesn’t, which again I hope he does, I actually think Sergio might be a good choice for RB. They are in too deep to wait for a young talent to develop. If Albon isn’t the guy, they need the next best available driver RIGHT NOW, and that may well be Sergio.

    7. A miracle? Like Red Bull not having confirmed a title sponsor in place of Aston Martin? A miracle like the kind the Slim group was willing to pay to retain the RP seat?

    8. Perez to Red Bull is unlikely for more than one reason.
      When Vettel was available Red Bull did not sign him. Why would they then go for the driver that got replaced by Seb?

      Also, when Ricciardo left Red Bull was in dire need of a replacement. But they did not get Perez then.
      Sergio would not think twice if he had gotten the chance to swap Force India for Red Bull, but nothing happened.
      So he wasn’t given the chance. Why would that change now?

      1. Because Red Bull is in the market for a Barrichello, not a Kimi.

  4. If that seat becomes available to Perez I wonder why it wasn’t for Vettel (and what it says about Red Bull’s perception of his current abilities).

    1. I think you answered your own ‘wondering’.

    2. @James Coulee: I think it was difficult for them to re-sign their 4-time world champion and treat him as a 2nd driver alongside Max?! RBR is so committed to Max, it’d be extremely difficult for them to treat their drivers equally and I believe Vettel wouldn’t settle for a 2nd status alongside Max either. A similar reason they couldn’t sign Lewis alongside Vettel in 2012…!

    3. I think it’s more of the driver relationship. I really can’t see Verstappen and Vettel getting on too well, whereas Verstappen and Perez seems more plausible. With taking back Gasly, pride is at stake and Red Bull would appear to show that they made the wrong decision dropping him – Marco wouldn’t like that. Albon isn’t doing enough. Perez, with his management links suddenly seems like a good option.

      1. They can’t have made the wrong decision, he was performing terribly, I’d have dropped him earlier than they did and I’m sure a lot of fans would have too, if they were owners at red bull, albon is doing just as badly now, but if gasly improved, why not take him back, although I think perez is more deserving at this point.

        1. Esploratore, it’s blindingly obvious that it is actually Red Bull that is the problem. The drivers are fine and more than capable, how can Gasly perform well then join Red Bull and fail miserably to then end up back in an Alpha Tauri and perform well again?
          To have the same situation happen to Albon points all fingers at Red Bull for the inability to give the driver decent race engineers and prepare a car for two drivers.

          1. Nonsense.
            It was clear Gasly couldnt handle the pressure stepping up to the main team and alongside Ver. He’s doing fine at AT now because expectations of the car were low, hence less pressure.
            Hopefully he is matured and maybe he can handle it now

          2. @watertower isn’t that still something of an indictment on Red Bull’s part if that was an issue that they could, and arguably should, have anticipated and the team failed to either provide enough support or to find ways of preventing that pressure coming onto Gasly in the first place?

      2. WE also shouldn’t discount that Perez would surely bring at least those 20 million with him to Red Bull, they might even put in a bit extra to have Perez in a race winning car.

        I think Perez would probably qualify in the top 6 and be solidly around Bottas if the car allows, securing safe p4-P6es and keeping Mercedes having to count on a strategy where Perez ends up in front of them if they don’t nail their pitstops, especially with his skill at eking out the distance on the Pirelli rubber.

        Vettel would indeed clash with Max or have to settle in a no2 role, whereas Perez will just be able to be an improvement on Albon and focus mostly on his own driving.

  5. I think the big issue with putting either Perez or Hulkenberg in the Red Bull is that at some point they’ll need a seat at Alpha Tauri for Tsunoda. I will be straight forward enough to sack Kvyat, but are they really going to replace Albon or Gasly with the Japanese driver? Red Bulls partnership with Honda would benefit greatly from having Tsunoda in F1. But how harsh would that be on Albon or Gasly.

    Red Bull have continuously said that they believe in Albon and that its the RB16 that currently unsettles him. If they truly belive that, than surely they’ll give him another chance. Although maybe they’re counting on fixing the car towards the end of this season, and judge him on the final couple of races. That’ll be the chance he’ll get.

    And Gasly .. do they or do they not believe that he can be at least a solid nr2 driver? His performances have been great this year, but I think Red Bull is very carefull and a bit suspicius about Gaslys mental strenght. I think they like to keep him at Alpha Tauri where he is performing well without the pressure as long as they can.

    1. @me4me Tsunoda needs to finish 5th this year, which looks all good so far but nothing is granted yet. And indeed I wouldn’t ditch Gasly or Albon for Tsunoda just yet either. But maybe Honda will have another view on this, should Tsunoda bag the required super license points.

      1. Forgot to take into account superlicense points slipping out of calculation for next year but he’s currently lying 4th.

  6. The Honda option makes a bit of sense, except for:
    This year Perez has not outperformed Stroll (consistently). And I don’t think they are any better than Gasly or Albon (though mounting doubts about the latter).
    What about Tsunoda?

    1. @coldfly Exactly, there have been at least three races this season where Stroll was on par with Perez or better i.e. Hungary, Spain and Belgium…and we have only six races to compare them anyway. It’s true that Lance has been more fortunate than Perez, but I don’t think being beaten in points by his much less fancied teammate will look good for Perez on paper.

      I’m fond of Lance, always have been, but its no secret that he is not rated at all in comparison to Perez. This season hasn’t looked good for Checo so far…

    2. @coldfly I am not sure Tsunoda has enough FIA points to get a Formula 1 superlicence

    3. If you take into account that Stroll got incredibly lucky to be on the podium last race (while Perez was unlucky to drop to 10th) and also Perez missing 2 races, I think most will still consider Perez IS actually outperforming Stroll @coldfly.

      Tsunoda seems to have been lacking in the latest F2 races a bit and might not have enough points for the licence for next year.

    4. Watch tech talk video and pundits comments to understand rp favouring stroll with better car since who knows when to make him look better. So now it’ll will be even more biased towards team owner’s son. We should start talking not driver paying for a seat but driver paying for a team!!! (not seen for decades) I will be delighted to see any time Perez beats stroll and vetel from here to the end after having received such treatment.

    5. @coldfly Perez was racing ill in Hungary and missed the following two rounds. With the compressed nature of the season, Checo would have had difficulty getting back the lost momentum. It is not difficult to understand why Checo might be having a one-off underperformance that would be unlikely to replicate in 2021.

  7. It does frustrate me how pay driver is a one size fits all term. There’s clearly a difference between a driver whose family and business connections indulge their hobby (drivers like Stroll or Marcus Ericsson) and drivers whose talent catches the eye of wealthy benefactors even if nationality plays a part.

    Perez isn’t in the class of drivers like Hamilton, Verstappen, Alonso, Ricciardo, Leclerc or probably even Vettel. But he’s up there with the likes of Bottas, Hulkenberg, Ocon or Magnussen as a solid also ran.

    1. Nowadays’ vettel? I’m sure perez can beat him on a similar car! Agree with all the rest of the names you said, I just think vettel is now similar or below your 2nd list.

      1. Its amazing what Ferrari has done to Vettel’s stock in the eyes of F1 fans. I hope he finds a good drive in Aston Martin, and regains some sort of respect. I also hope Leclerc doesn’t suffer the same fate, Ferrari doesn’t deserve him.

        Since Kimi, Ferrari has done a poor job of making their f1 drivers look as good as they are. I’m not only speaking of the cars. The brand is unwarrantedly greater than the sum of its parts, and Ferrari supporters do their best to snub the drivers over the team.

        1. Vettel has always had a massive chink and that’s pressure, he is a front runner, Dan exposed him as a driver!!

        2. I am also disappointed that Vettel made a lot of mistakes at Ferrari, and didn’t win the championship. On the other hand, he got more wins in a Ferrari than Alonso, than Massa, than Barrichello.

          And in the sad state that Ferrari finds itself nowadays, I am not sure Leclerc will get a chance (at least until 2024 or when his current contract ends) to get more wins for Ferrari than Vettel did.

    2. Not sure how you can put Bottas and Magnussen in the same category? Maybe you meant Kovalainen…

      Magnussen is just an also ran, not a solid one.

  8. RB in need of money?
    Honda can provide them with far more, if RB lets that Japanese youngster Tsunoda in AT than Perez can ever bring to RB.
    And Perez going to offer a challenge to Max in an RB?

    arguably the most able current non-race-winner on the grid,

    I have to disagree with the entire premise of the article, no team is looking for a driver of Perez’ skill level, because it is a dime a dozen. Yes, he brings experience and a big bag of money, but when you are looking for the next Max, Lewis or Seb, you are not going to sign 30 year old Perez.
    Drivers like Norris, Russell, Sainz were already of similar or higher level and drivers like Gasly and Albon have considerably more potential.

    1. Redbull Needs consistency, Albon and Gasly do not have it, they need a consisten point scorer (look at the stats 13 consecutive races in the points) and someone that can actually be back Verstapen fighting for podiums. At this time in his career Checo could be a valuable #2.

  9. 1.5 million? That’s a shockingly low price for a 4-time drivers champion.

    If Seb came that cheap, it is indeed impossible for Checo to compete..

    1. Seb has been hired for the brand image, and recent performances were not remarkable, when RP offered him a drive seb could not refuse, all in all RP needs to build up it’s image as Aston Martin with a marketable driver like Sebastian Vettel, whether he performs or not that’s a different question, I might not be surprised if Vettel being kicked out in future for non performance, you never know with stroll senior

    2. Was it 1.5 million!!! surely my eyes saw it but my brain took it to be 15 million.
      I still have to admire Vettel though its not about the money.

      1. Yeah but he’s probably got enough already. Vettel doesn’t strike me as the kind of person that needs to keep earning millions upon millions, it’s more about quality of life and enjoying his final years in F1. Big salaries also equal more pressure, he really doesn’t need the money.

      2. Umm I think people confusing the 15m contract with as 1.5m retainer clause..

    3. He’s getting paid more than 3x as much to represent the brand than what he gets for driving. That should end all doubts that this was indeed not a performance based signing but a purely a marketing decision.

    4. Sumedh Plus performance bonuses, which I’d assume are likely to be a lot higher. What was it Raikkonen was on at Lotus when he nearly bankrupted them? £100k per point or something? Which was over £20m by the time he’d scored over 200 points in a season. But you’re right, Seb probably is taking a significant pay cut over what he was getting at Ferrari and if most of his salary is performance based, then Aston Martin wins either way.

      1. I just checked. Kimi’s salary was 8 million euros and 50k euros per point. Seb at 1.5 million dollars is still significantly less.

        Seb is genuinely doing it for his love of racing then.

        1. Or realising this was his only chance at a competitive team. Ambassador job waiting for him when he leaves the team. Cushty…

    5. @Sumedh It’s low but is supplemented by payment from a different branch of the organisation, so it would probably be fairer to judge by the combined value of team drive and ambassadorship ($6.5 m) than the $1.5 m race salary.

  10. Red Bull will give one last chance to Albon in 2021 given the rules stability and their commitment to him.
    Perez’s best chance will be in 2022 driver’s market with new regs firings and hirings.
    At least one Merc seat will be available then.

    1. I think George Russell is clearly the first in queue for that Merc seat.

    2. He might be too old by then..lot of decent F2 talent coming thru also.

  11. I doubt Red Bull would go for an ‘outsider’ especially if Tsunoda becomes eligible to race in F1 next season by reaching the necessary minimum amount of super license-points as in this scenario, Red Bull would have to let go not only Kvyat, but also either Gasly or Albon.

    1. As far as current performance goes, I’d get rid of albon, as far as best ever red bull performance I’d get rid of gasly, I think when it comes to peak red bull performance albon and kvyat were pretty similar, kvyat was a bit more unlucky that verstappen came along at his time, so red bull needed less underperformance to drop him, in comparison to the following drivers.

  12. Personally, I think it would be a mistake for Red Bull to sign Perez. Although he is a reliable points-scorer, he is pretty weak in qualifying. Let’s not forget that he was outqualified 17-4 by Ocon less than 2 seasons ago, and Verstappen is considerably better than Ocon (as evidenced by how they compare to a known yardstick in Ricciardo). If Perez were to come to Red Bull and struggle to even qualify in the top 5, I’m not sure how that really makes him a good pick for Red Bull, as that would be the same problem they’re facing with Albon.

    1. By 2022 Gasly could return if that were the case. To me, Gasly being promoted back to RB next season isn’t likely with Horner’s and Marco’s egos.

      1. @john-h Marko has also indicated that internal politics within Red Bull is playing a part in keeping Albon in that seat – he put it rather bluntly that “Albon is a Thai driver in a team that is half Thai”, referring to the fact that 51% of the company is owned by the Yoovidhya family and implying that they were keen to see Albon retain his seat because of his nationality.

  13. I think George Russell is clearly the first in queue for that Merc seat.

  14. Seriously, Perez would get annihilated by Max at Red Bull – no I’m not Dutch or a blind Max fan, I’m just not a blind Perez fan.
    As for “driving better than ever”… Well, if you mean putting people into the wall at Spa and running into people in practice, then yeah, he’s doing just fine.

    1. Indeed. He’s not driving better than ever at the moment. 2012 something like that was perhaps his peak.

    2. Agreed, this season Perez has had some ups and downs performance wise and his race craft hasn’t been that good. He would be a good fit for RBR as his race pace and tyre management is really good, but it’s quite difficult to see Perez getting the seat before Gasly, who has been the star of the season imo.

    3. He’d be destroyed next to Verstappen. 20-0 or however many races on the calendar in qualifying.

      He’s a pay driver.

      Numerous stories throughout his career about his arrogant, entitled attitude. Not a team player but brings a lot of Mexican money to his teams so he’s tolerated.

      In Lawrence Stroll he met his match.

      1. Numerous stories throughout his career about his arrogant, entitled attitude.

        Name ONE. Stop making stuff up.

        1. There are several notes on that In media outlets. Jo Ramirez pointed it out back in McLaren as one of the reasons of its departure. He was rude with British press and so.

          1. He literally saved Force India/Racing point when Vijay left. He saved hundreds of jobs. You must have a very strange definition for the word arrogant.

    4. He would be significantly slower than Max but he would bring the car home in the next best position behind Verstappen. And he wouldn’t break under pressure if the top 3 drop out of the race.

  15. Redbull just need to sign Russell, problem solved. Merc is dragging him along anyways, they prefer nr2 Bottas.

  16. Annual retainer? Not sure if it’s clear, seems weird to me they only pay 1,5 mil to vettel, but if it’s that would explain why they went with him, with marketing on his past glories and low salary they might have a point.

    1. Plus ambassador pay plus performance $. Wouldn’t surprise me if he makes $20 mill.

    2. What would you pay him? With Sergio they loose 20 million of sponsorship and a decent free driver.

      So Vettel is paid.. 21.5 million more than Sergio.

      + Vettel does not need money, he needs a seat.

      1. I absolutely wouldn’t pay vettel a lot, I’d just be surprised if he accepted such a low salary, for an ex top driver it’s like a status symbol being paid tens of mill per year, but obviously they won’t reveal the amount from bonuses and stuff.

        1. Only l driver could take it to Max is Ric on his day and RB knew that..hence there bitterness when he left.

        2. Green River Sludge
          13th September 2020, 12:42

          I guess it depends on the performance bonus. If the offered him big money for every podium that might be a tactic that works well for the team. In the mean time they pay him a much smaller amount to drive, significantly topped up by a multi-million marketing deal with AML.

          I expect Vet is passed caring about how it looks, is numerous errors in the last two years, being beaten by LeClerck over a season, followed by being let go by Ferrari in favour of LeClerk is probably embarrassing enough, if he can get over that a lower nominal salary isn’t an issue.

      2. @jureo Racing Point loses the $20 m (minus what Checo was getting in salary, which must have been at least $4 m as he was owed that when Force India went down despite having been waiting less than a year to be paid), but as Aston Martin (the car company) would be paying the $5 m ambassadorship, that’s less of an issue than might otherwise have been the case.

  17. “Our preference has always been to nurture talent,” he said. “Whether that’s Sebastian Vettel, whether that’s Daniel Ricciardo, whether that’s Max Verstappen they’ve come through the junior programme, they’ve been schooled by Franz [Tost, AlphaTauri team principal] and they’ve always done well in Red Bull Racing’s seats. So our preference is always in that home-grown talent”.

    ………..right. That’s why only 1 (2 if including Ricciardo), have hung around long enough to even make an impression.

  18. Are you sure Lawrence spoke loudly by mistake?

    1. Lawrence seems like the kind of person who always speaks loudly. As in he is unable to speak quietly.

  19. Kyvat needs to leave and the Russian GP with him. Russia is run as a mafia state and should be ostericized from sport and finance as part of coordinated effort to stop its human rights abuses. No more Shanghai GP either

  20. Kimi to redbull, hulk to alpha, Perez to Haas – all one year contract. 😊

  21. I thought I heard Horner say that Marko is very much invested in his young driver program, and I personally believe to a very unhealthy degree where it’s a matter of pride and where he can’t be proven wrong.

    They could have had Alonso, and of course they should take Perez now, but Marko will not back down, but insist on his ‘boys’ even if it’s going to cost the team dearly.

  22. I understand the sentimental reasons why Racing Point would want to keep Perez, but no one in their right mind thinks he’s as good as Vettel. Stroll is way more ambitious than anyone in the team and they need a better driver to push the team forward.

    As for Perez being popular with Hispanics in the USA, no one here has heard of him.

    1. That may be true, the US isn’t a big market for F1 it’s just come back to Austin for a few years, there isn’t much reason why anyone would know any drivers for the exception of Lewis, Schumacher and Sena. In the States people enjoy watching Nascar much more.

    2. @Gabe, “Stay at home” too much? “no one here has heard of him”… Must be really cold in Alaska.

      Checo is very popular in USA (not only hispanics), perhaps you haven’t been in the Austin GP. You are more than welcome to visit my state of Texas anytime once travel restrictions are loosen a bit.

  23. Perez historically has been much better than his teammates on Sunday than on Saturday, and points are won on Sunday. Stroll has improved but even with more points he is not a match to Perez and won’t be for a few years if aperes would have been in strolls shoes last race he would have won the race not come a 3rd.

    The McLaren year was far from being a competitive set up, none of their drivers even reached a podium that year, obviously being his freshman year at McLaren he had to learn and figure out how things were done, and there is a learning curve that when moving to a top team you have to learn, thus impacting his results vs Jenson, and by mid year talks about his replacement made things more challenging for him, being young he was more volatile and more prone to acting with other drivers and the media, but like a good wine he has come of age a much better driver, competitor and team mate, I am surprised how well he handled him self driving against the Team’s owner. Al though unlikely it would be spectacular to see him race against Max, I remember the beautiful competition he had with Hulkenberg which has been rarely seen lately in any team. I.E. it’s a disgrace what botas is doing with the Mercedes, a total waste of tires and petrol. Time will tell but Perez at RBR would be spectacular to watch.

  24. We’ve all exposed Red Bull but is Lawrence Stroll exposed now?

  25. If Red Bull are thinking of giving Tsunoda a year in Super Formula (or GP2, unless he becomes champion there) for extra experience, then I could see Perez going… …to AlphaTauri. Especially if there are any questions over Kyvat staying on the programme (I have no reason to believe Gasly’s getting demoted again, but also can’t imagine the Red Bull leadership promoting him again, regardless of what they might have promised). This would leave a vacancy at AlphaTauri for Perez to fill, though it would probably be a seat-warming exercise while he creates a Plan C.

  26. Checo to Indy car. The Rahal group is thinking about bringing on a 3rd car. Better for travel from Mexico and just as good for the Mexican advertisers that support him.
    He can find a job in North America quite easily I would think.

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