Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Mugello, 2020

Perez says Red Bull is an “option” for him in 2021

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez has said a move to Red Bull for the 2021 F1 season is an “option” for him, amid speculation he could replace Alexander Albon at the team.

However the Racing Point driver admitted he cannot take much longer to decide who he will drive for next year.

Asked whether a move to Red Bull is a possibility for him, Perez said: “I don’t rule them out, I think, at the moment.

“Until they’re not confirmed they’re an option, the same as every team that hasn’t confirmed. I think as the time is running there is very, very few opportunities to remain on the grid for next year.”

Asked whether he would accept a “number two” role alongside Red Bull’s star driver Max Verstappen, Perez said “I haven’t thought about it in detail.

Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
2021 F1 drivers and teams
“The number two status is given on track,” he said. “I would be very surprised if there is a team that when you come tells you that you are already a number two. I would be surprised on that, but obviously I don’t know how things work at Red Bull.”

Red Bull has indicated it intends to choose its drivers for 2021 in the near future. Perez said he will need to make his decision soon to avoid being left without a seat for next year.

“I think there is a very thin line in there,” he said. “There is a time where you take the risk, wait, and then see what happens.

“The season is coming to an end so I think it’s important for teams to know what’s going on, what’s happening going forward and for drivers too. I’m looking at all my possible options and I cannot take too long any more.”

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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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55 comments on “Perez says Red Bull is an “option” for him in 2021”

  1. Perez to Red Bull and Albon to Alpha Tauri. Kvyat to Ferrari as simulation driver for development. Oneor two Ferrari Academy Drivers or Hulkenberg for Haas.

    1. I think this would be a successful outcome for all concerned. Crossing my fingers!

    2. Albon and Gasly would be a fun pair to watch next year (love to be a fly on the wall during debriefs :P); I think it’s the most likely scenario.

      Perez wouldn’t surprise me at RB, though in rewatching older seasons I’m baffled that Hülkenberg isn’t coming up in conversation. When he didn’t have a car that broke down on him he was a very competitive driver and I’d be very curious to see what he could do with a top-end car.

      1. @treize131 I tend to lean towards Albon out altogether should he lose his place at RBR as Tsunoda has been embedded for the other drive at AT. Juri Vips is also available for next season, so at the moment, Red Bull doesn’t lack options in the academy. Time will tell.

        1. @jerejj given Honda’s intention to leave, I feel like the momentum behind the expected Tsunoda deal may have may dropped somewhat.

          1. @eurobrun But that doesn’t have an impact on next year as Honda will still be around.

          2. @jerejj
            But that implys giving him a 1 year deal just to satisfy Honda, then drop him (unless he does very well).
            I think there is no right answer, and whoever out of Tsunoda and Albon that is left without a drive will feel hard done by.

  2. Sainz (or Ricciardo) would seem to match Red Bull’s aggressive style better, but Perez would be a decent option I guess. Hulkenberg might be better though. They need a more experienced driver to handle the pressure at the team and keep within a few seconds of Verstappen, at least, to assist their race strategies.

    1. @david-br RB has seen Carlos finish 1+ pitstops behind Max on sundays and .2 off in Q. They didn’t accept that then, why now?

      1. @peartree That’s some new name peartree! 0.2 off would be something of a big improvement, wouldn’t it? Probably ideal. The race difference is another issue entirely. There’s no escaping the fact that with Max ahead on the starting grid and in the race, Red Bull use the ‘second driver’ to test out tyre strategy, often ruining the latter’s race in the process. In some ways that makes sense: if the other driver isn’t close enough to Max to assist directly, by threatening an undercut or overcut on whoever Max is competing with (Mercedes, Ferrari etc.) then they can at least use the driver to see what tyres Max should use. But that means that the eventual race difference can be a bit misleading. The key factor is qualifying difference, I think. And the ability to make progress (and not lose ground) during the race itself. I don’t think anyone is expecting anyone to beat Max in qualifying. Probably only Lewis could do that (let’s call it 50/50 between them to avoid a pointless argument).

        1. @david-br same name but since everyone likes to push their own agenda I decided to push the one thing that upsets me the most.

          I’m not in any way disagreeing with you, quite the contrary.

          1. @peartree Ah OK, I guess we’ll see soon enough what Red Bull think is best for them.

  3. Perez’s words a bit arrogant.
    I understand that it is the teams who choose their drivers and not the other way around.
    Anyway, hopefully it finds a place on the grid. He is a good driver although not one of the outstanding ones like Hamilton, Vettel, Leclerc or Ricciardo.

    1. Both parties sign the contract, not just the teams. Drivers don’t just there waiting to be signed up.

      1. Plus he said that every team that has not confirmed the line-up is an option. I don’t think that is arrogant, it is just a fact.

    2. @jorge-lardone I don’t think he was being arrogant, he was just looking at the vacant seats available and Red Bull is one of them, so, theoretically, that is still an option. A very small option maybe but still an option.

    3. Vettel, truly outstanding. At embarrasing himself. Living proof that you can be a 4 time WDC while too bad for amateur karting.

  4. Just read a report that Perez has been in talks with the Red Bull team and has become close to them. It might be rubbish/speculation but it’s looking like it’s either Albon or Perez for RBR in 2021.

    1. I’m pretty sure Albon is as good as gone…

    2. Would be so happy about this, perez deserves that seat a lot more than albon, he never had a chance at a top team, mclaren was already in decline, albon is performing at a gasly-red bull level now and the sooner he’s gone the better.

  5. I’m just glad when those Hülkenberg rumors are finally done. There’s a reason why he was out of a cockpit. He’s in the exact same league as Sutil, Ocon, Wehrlein, Hartley or Kovalainen. There are much more talented people available.

    1. Then how is Carlos Sainz on the grid, Hulk wiped the floor with him. Just shows how bad Lando is tbh ok he has some ok speed beating Sainz in qually last year but so many issues this year for Sainz and will probably lose in the standings again. Sainz must be bad if you think Hulk does not deserve a seat.

    2. I don’t think any of drivers you mentioned would done that kind of drives as Hulk did. Twice. Just look at Kovalainen in 2013 with a podium car with much better preparation. Hulk should be on the grid. No question about that.

      1. @andycz But Kovalainen only drove in the last two races as a replacement for Kimi, so not much preparation beforehand.

        1. @jerejj how about in 2008, in not just a podium winning car, but a title winning car. He got one pole, one (very fortunate) win and a couple of other podiums on the way to 7th in the championship. With just as much preparation as everyone else.

          1. Yes, absolutely, it’s an insult to hulk and even ocon to put them between this list of drivers!

    3. lol, no there is not, easily among the top 10 most competent drivers available, maybe top 5.

  6. The headline makes it seem like it’s Perez to decide, but really he’s just saying that there is always still a chance for every team with a spare seat until they’re confirmed.

    1. @john-h exactly my thoughts. So there’s an “option” for him at Mercedes. hahaha

  7. I can’t see Perez achieving much at Red Bull. IMHO he is one of F1’s journeymen. He isn’t going to beat a Max (unless Max is being seriously over hyped).
    To paraphrase what Jenson Button had to say, when they were teammates, he was quick on rear limited tracks like Bahrain, but off the pace on front limited tracks.

    1. In his first and only team at McLaren he outqualified Button. I suppose he wasn’t that slow after all … (even if Perez’s strength has never been qualifying … )

    2. Rear limited is exactly how the Red Bull behaves though. I dunno, I think it will be interesting. Ricciardo has shown that a decent driver can get close to Max already.

      1. DannyRic has shown he was a match for a 18y boy jumping in a seat halfway a season, while Dan was established with the team.
        DannyRic has also shown that the last 1.5years of their partnership, Max was having significant upperhand.
        DannyRic would also acknowledge that today’s MAx is much better than teenagerMax and that you can expect him to have had a much steeper learning curve than a driver in his late 20s. like DannyRic.
        So extrapolating 2017-2018, what exactly makes you think DannyRic would do much better than Albon?

        1. That’s not true.
          Until the point at the start of August 2018 when Ric announced he was leaving RBR, he had more points more wins and more poles in that 2018 season than Max.
          He was beating Max, again, when he a announced he was leaving.
          It is very very obvious when a driver leaves a team they no longer provide him equal opportunity, so what you claim is simply incorrect.

    3. He doesn’t need to beat Max. RB would bring someone like Perez onboard to put the car where it is capable of being, unlike Albon, who regularly trails behind much slower cars.

  8. They need someone like Ricciardo but just a bit slower. They don’t want that fight again between their drivers. There is still that downside. That 2nd seat wasn’t good for Gasly (who did something only a four time champion has done before.) It wasn’t good for Albon (who shined in that Toro Rosso a season earlier). So whoever it will be he needs to be on top of their game. They need someone who has beaten Ricciardo.. Karthikeyan! :)

    Well it seems it will be a three horse race between Albon, Perez and Hulkenberg. But still for anyone that seat won’t be an easy one.

    1. The problem is: Albon and GAsly are these kind of drivers; close to DannyRic.
      I would be really surprised if Dan would be within 0.25s of Max.
      Dan was lucky his stats look good as he was racing a teenager (with a steep learning curve, brilliant on some days but reckless on others), and not today’s Max.

      1. By the looks of it, albon and gasly are NOT able to drive red bull at the level it’s expected, they can be close to ricciardo’s performance on a midfield car, but not on a top car.

    2. Albon did not “shine” in the RB last year. He was simply a bit better than the really low expectations that most people had for him.

  9. I have a feeling both Perez and Hulkenberg are holding out for the possibility of a Red Bull drive – maybe even turning down Alfa Romeo/Haas seats while waiting… and could find themselves both still standing when the music stops.

    I just cannot see Red Bull picking anyone outside their programme for a drive and since Gasly’s staying put at AlphaTauri and I doubt they’re promoting Kvyat or Tsunoda, I think Albon’s near guaranteed to stay no matter what he does.

    1. But horner admitted publicly they’re considering even drivers outside their program.

      If that’s a honest comment I don’t see why albon would be better than hulk or perez.

      1. Albon right now is on a free fall. Nothing is going to stop him falling. His time in RB should be over in order to not affect the rest of his career. He still has the chance of redemtion by next season in AT

  10. Perez and Hulk would both be put to bed with a 0.35s margin by Max.
    But then again, why would they bother. they have nothing to lose, and a few podiums to gain. (Hulk!)

    1. If red bull’s level gets closer to mercedes like the past years, I’m guessing drivers of their quality could snatch the occasional win too!

      1. As I don’t think ricciardo was much better than them, and he managed.

  11. Asked whether he would accept a “number two” role alongside Red Bull’s star driver Max Verstappen, Perez said “I haven’t thought about it in detail.

    Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
    2021 F1 drivers and teams
    “The number two status is given on track,” he said. “I would be very surprised if there is a team that when you come tells you that you are already a number two. I would be surprised on that, but obviously I don’t know how things work at Red Bull.”

    ———

    Ah, note perez wrote this, to all those saying schumacher’s team mates were not allowed to challenge him and not that they were simply a lot weaker, and also saying vettel is number 2 to leclerc or ricciardo in red bull, or ricciardo number 2 to verstappen etc., number 2 is based on performance, you can become number 1 if you beat the number 1 like these drivers did!

    1. The assumption was that Leclerc would be at Ferrari to back up Vettel, but it soon became apparent that Leclerc was quicker.

  12. Cannot wait for Max to be beaten… he hasn’t outclassed any drivers with pedigree ever. And Danny Ric had the upper hand in him, until he had 7 dnfs in a season

    1. It was clear that in their last season together, Max was outpacing Ricciardo BEFORE Daniel announced that he was leaving. Too many people seem to forget this. Max wasn’t exactly blowing Daniel away, but he was regularly faster than him.

    2. Do you mean 2017, when Ricciardo had 6 DNFs and Verstappen had 7?

  13. In Mexico there are a lot of rumours that Perez already signed, however most of them have two sources, which look questionable at least. One originated from a website that refers to a “analysis” of them which “shows with 99.9 accuracy” that he will drive for Red Bull next year but the explanation of their “analysis” is pure nonsense. The other is the word from a motorsport journalist which I had never heard of.
    However it’s true that there are some hints around: this week Red Bull and Perez´s social networks started following each other, and Red Bull Mexico´s accounts stopped promoting Albon’s content and started posting about Pérez.
    Others have noted that Pérez changed his helmet colors to include blue, his father posted about a “very special day” for his son a few days ago and, some say, A1 Telekom and Red Bull have been in contact for a possible sponsorship deal, and the main investor in A1 is Carlos Slim, the owner of most of the companies that sponsor Pérez.
    There’s even the rumour that he will announced as a Red Bull driver on Monday, but again, no bases have been presented for such assertion.

    1. If I were RB and have aspirations of challenging for the Constructor’s next season, I would put Perez in the second car. He seems like an ideal backup to Max. Perez will keep him honest without beating him and will score podiums regularly.

  14. Clickbait headline. So unnecessary.

  15. That’s a 50/50 between him and Hülkenberg.

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