Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Perez will take sabbatical from racing if he doesn’t get Red Bull seat

2020 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez has said he will take a sabbatical from motor racing if he does not get a seat with Red Bull for the 2021 F1 season.

The Racing Point driver will be replaced in the team’s line-up by Sebastian Vettel next year. But he is known to be under consideration for a move to Red Bull in place of Alexander Albon.

Speaking in today’s FIA press conference, Perez said that is the only option he is considering for next year.

“There’s only one option,” said Perez. “I’ve been here so many years, I want to keep going, I think I’m at the peak of my career.

“But I also want to keep going with a reason, with a plan, with a good project. So I think if there’s not a good project that keeps my motivation to give 100%, I’d rather not take it.”

Red Bull have indicated they may not decide on their driver line-up until after the end of the season.

Perez said he’s “just waiting on the decision, what they decide to do” at the moment. “That’s out of my hands. So I’m just approaching these three races as usual trying to focus on the job, keep delivering and the rest is out of my hands.”

With few other competitive seats available in F1 or other championships for next year, Perez said he is prepared to spend 2021 on the sidelines.

“I think if I don’t have [a] Formula 1 [seat] next year I don’t see myself doing anything else. I will take a year to consider what I want to do, [whether] I really miss it.

“Most other drivers, they retire and after six months they go mad and they want to do whatever is available. So I have to see. I’ve never experienced that my whole life.

“So I have to see also the life out of the sport, how it is, how it suits me and then see if I miss it or I just want to carry on with that life.”

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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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22 comments on “Perez will take sabbatical from racing if he doesn’t get Red Bull seat”

  1. Jose Lopes da Silva
    26th November 2020, 14:44

    Good for him. We’re not expecting him to go to Haas anyway. We’re having Stroll and Mazepin instead of Perez and Hulkenberg, but all jobs are safe.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        26th November 2020, 17:46

        …yes, Schumacher and Mazepin, who are being tipped.

  2. « I think if I don’t have a Formula 1 seat next year I don’t see myself doing anything else. »

    This, is the problem many drivers have with this sport. There are so many other professional racing series, but drivers want to hang on in F1 until their career gets an unhappy ending. See Barrichello, Massa and many others.

    Indycar would have been a great category to go to for a Mexican and a driver of this caliber. But Perez’ never shown no desire for the American series.

    A year « at the peak of [his] career » without racing is a lost year for any professional driver.

    1. In f1 you are only as good as your last race. So in f1 that last race is going to be at racing point which is likely to be a good points finish. At indycar that last race is going to be whatever finish he has in indycar. Going to indycar is tough and it is hard to do well straight away. New car, new tracks, new environment, new discipline in ovals. Chances are the f1 teams lose all interest if perez doesn’t win indycar on his first try. Worst that could happen is that perez would struggle in indycar which would most certainly kill his f1 career. F1 will mercilessly try to compare perez’s indycar results to his red bull seat holder’s results and try to see which way is better.

      F1 has this image of being all about data, analysis and figuring out quickly what and how things work. But when it comes to drivers it still seems all of the teams are still very much going by gut feeling in the end. When it comes to picking between two drivers with equal income prospects the deciding factor tends to be the last race result which in itself is an emotional memory. A good or bad impression of the performance regardless of what underlying causes there may have been. F1 doesn’t really understand indycar, they are not in it so their gut feeling is going to be very skewed. Even a good indycar result could be a negative mark on perez if the f1 people don’t perceive it being a good result. Why take the risk.

    2. @jeff1s Oh oh, double negative alert.

        1. @jeff1s ”But Perez’ never shown no desire for the American series.”
          My reply was meant to be a light-hearted one referring to one phrase in a TV episode, even though the double negative is the one grammar error in English I dislike the most. In general, I can live with incorrect grammar (and typos, word choices, mispronunciations, whatever) as long as it doesn’t affect my understanding and 99% of grammar errors don’t. I started to dislike the double-negative more and more over time because of hearing it redundantly in more than a handful of TV series episodes.

          1. hihi, exactly. i made a mistake there.
            yes, as a non native-english speaker i first found double-negative a bit weirdo at first, but then listening to rap game music i found it a powerful meaning, but clearly here i i overspelled it.

  3. I think Red Bull has not been very clear, it has said this and said that, Red Bull is not clear about what it wants to do, at the moment it is in a dilemma, RB is caught in his own trap.

    Red Bull let Sainz and Ricciardo go very quickly, and very soon they raised Albon and Gasly, Kvyat went, came, and is leaving.

    Tsunoda ???,… I don’t think so.

    Next year Ferrari will improve a lot and it will be breathing down the neck of RB, RB will need to be in the competition with two drivers and not just one, as it is doing now, RB needs two good drivers to fight second place in the competition next year.

    Pérez is the best option for RB at the moment, if they don’t take him Red Bull is securing third place in the championship next year.

    1. @luis I doubt Ferrari. If any teams were to challenge Red Bull next season despite stable technical regs with some tweaks, I’d count more on RP/Aston Martin or Mclaren more than Ferrari. RP might already have been a lot closer to RB in points without the 15 points taken away and all other potential big points lost due to things out of the teams or the drivers’ control.

  4. A seat in F1 has been always a combination of factors. Sad to see talent going down in the list and status quo and money going up. In Mexico you don’t get the type of PR driving in an USA series vs F1. It’s a powerful platform. The next best strategy for a driver to stay is: talent (Senna), money, fan base (Keep Calm and Kiki on), money, cult personality (Alonso), a religion (Hamilton), money, relationships (Bottas), status quo (Verstappen), hard work (Schumacher) and luck (Vettel) Checo have some of these yet he gambled on Force India and lost. The idea of being sacked regardless results and talent is just sad. The lesson is to build safety nets and learn the lesson.

    1. Keep Calm and Kimi on. Kimi is just genius.

    2. In other words play the game. I don’t think he ‘gambled and lost’ on RP though. There wasn’t much else he could do at the time and he has come out of it with his stock as high as it has ever been. He can do no more than he is right now. If he doesn’t get the RB seat (which he absolutely should IMO…) then we just have to put that down as ‘things that happen’. Sucks but that’s life I guess.

  5. Absolute crime if this happens. Man up Red Bull.

  6. The best screwed over Formula One Driver of the current class has to take a sabbatical after finally getting the best car he has earned. Now Daddy did what daddy’s do when there little boys are involved. Make hard decisions that don’t offer the hard truth. Lance Junior should be the spare driver in a team that already has world champion Vettel and a solid ready to win number two Perez.
    Not the kid.
    In a single race Lance went from restoring his reputation in extreme conditions to a dreamer who still complains of or about what happened. It just ruined what a great moment he was cementing into his reputation notebook. Oh well life lessons come with pain and how we act in those moments says a lot about the quality of ones character.

  7. inb4 someone starts mentioning Stroll
    So what about IndyCar?

    1. I just can’t seem him taking a “sabatical” when he would probably have enough sponsorship to land an IndyCar ride. He has expressed interest previously and has US connections. It would be a real shame if he sits out.

      I’m still hoping that K-mag can land an IndyCar ride rather than the IMSA sports car rumors circulating. The upside for Kevin would be probably be a promise to join when a seat becomes available with Ganassi.

  8. I can understand him. One last chance at a long shot at the title after paying his dues in midfield teams, though even he knows it’s still a pipe dream outside Mercedes.

    Still, when he finally joins Indycar in a year or two I will start watching that series. Maybe Grosjean and even Magnussen will be there too which should be quite fun.

  9. Gotta be his best option right now rather than driving a shed around at the back.

  10. I wouldn’t be surprised if Red Bull keeps Albon just to sack him three races into the 2021 championship. They LOVE to screw up things.

    1. They’re already screwed enough by Honda to screw their drivers.

      That said, I think Albon will be replaced before start of next season.

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