Esteban Ocon, Renault, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

“Not the best drivers are in F1” rues Perez as he faces losing drive after win

2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez says he faces losing his F1 drive at the end of the year partly because “not the best drivers are in Formula 1”.

The Racing Point driver scored his first victory in today’s Sakhir Grand Prix, ahead of his current team mate Lance Stroll in third place, with his previous team mate Esteban Ocon separating them.

Ocon lost his place at the team to Stroll at the end of 2018 when it was taken over by Stroll’s father Lawrence. Earlier this year Racing Point announced it had cut Perez’s three-year deal to drive for the team short by two years to bring Sebastian Vettel in alongside Stroll.

During the post-race press conference featuring the top three finishers Perez, who does not yet have a drive for 2021, compared his situation to Ocon’s.

“We’ve seen drivers like him missing out on seats so it’s just the way Formula 1 is,” said Perez. “It can be really tough, and not the best drivers are in Formula 1, unfortunately.”

Perez has been his team’s top scorer in every season since 2015. He said his recent run of form has made him more determined than ever to return to F1 next year or in 2022, when new technical regulations are introduced.

“I’ve always said about ’22 there was a risk taking a year out at this stage of the career that I am,” he said. “I never know what’s going to happen, if I will have the will to come back or during that year I decide to stop.

“But after today, after the last couple of races I’m so determined to be here, either if it’s next year or the year after.

“I already have some good options for ’22 so my best option is obviously to keep going next year but if I have to stop then it’s not a disaster, I can come back in ’22. The regulations are going to change so much that in a way I don’t think it will hurt that much the driving side to get up to speed. I’m at peace with myself.”

Ocon, who returned to F1 with Renault this year after a season out, said he sympathised with Perez’s situation. “It’s obviously a very tough position to be in,” he said. “I know well how it feels.

“I’m glad that Sergio is obviously getting the results to show everybody that he deserves to be in Formula 1. He’s one of the top guys out there.

“He can’t be left outside. It would not be normal. But sometimes the sport is like that, unfortunately, and you don’t end up in the best situations.”

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Keith Collantine
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  • 43 comments on ““Not the best drivers are in F1” rues Perez as he faces losing drive after win”

    1. Did Perez and Ocon glance over at Lance after making that remark?

      1. I am sure Perez is professional enough not to. And Ocon probably too. Also, I do think Stroll by now is good enough that he has earned his place in F1, even though he still would not be the one I would have kept at RP if not for his Father being the boss.

        1. Everybody can earn their place if they can buy the mileage. Stroll bought both the mileage and the car.

          And he’s looking rather weak compared to Perez, who should have 2x his points tally by this pointIf not for bad calls on imola and that DNF last week.

          1. I agree. When you got so many possibilities to train of course you become better. And not to forget he bought a championship winning car that he can barely (if ever) get out of the midfield. He doesn’t belong in F1.

        2. I was joking, but I’m sure it crossed their minds!

        3. @bascb Stroll has done several races now where he’s been one of the best tire managers on track. He’d be a handy Indycar winner, I’m certain, where that kind of thing is sometimes paramount, but F1 just doesn’t race that way. He’s still proving that while he isn’t the fastest driver, he’s taking care of his daddy’s equipment.

        4. “Stroll by now is good enough that he has earned his place in F1”

          Has he, though?
          This is already his fourth year in F1 and he’s barely shown any improvement in terms of performance compared to Perez.
          Ocon was much closer to Perez during their time as teammates and he’s had considerably less F1 experience back then.

          The only reason Racing Point is still locked in the battle for 3rd for the Constructor’s is because of Stroll. People like to point out Stroll’s few moments of brilliance to justify his spot in F1 but really, only mediocre drivers have good days.
          The good ones have bad days because being good should be their default level of performance.

          I’d rank his performance to be on the same level as Albon. The difference is that unlike Albon, there is simply no pscyhological component to Stroll’s sheer mediocrity considering his father owns the team.

          1. I think Perez has further developed in turn though @marinatedmonolith after having a hard time with Ocon in the car next to him.

            And Stroll really has shown that he is a really good qualifier, can handle tricky and slippery track very well, that he can pace himself as race leader and that he can do a solid job of bringing home the points if the equiment works for him.
            Mind, I am sure that there are quite a few better drivers on the grid than Lance, but I would say that this year he’s done quite enough to show he is not wasting that seat.

            The reason RP is locked into that battle is probably more to do with a tyre failure in Mugello, Stroll getting bumped out of the race in Bahrain last weekend and Perez car getting barbequed. And don’t forget Hulk did not even get away from the grid in Silverstone, if not for they could have had another solid points finish there too.

    2. Yeah, I am sympathical of all of them. Would be great if there was more room in F1 to fit in quite a few drivers who I think should be in F1. And then there are a few that I think the sport could do without, although not that many at the moment either.

      1. @bascb
        I’m not sure how having more seats in Formula One would solve the problem that teams like Racing Point choose Stroll over Perez.

        I think there are only two solutions that would solve the problem:
        – Ban sponsorship deals that affect team’s driver decisions (hard to enforce).
        – Limit the development of the cars so that drivers matter more (some say this is against the DNA of Formula One).

        1. @hotbottoms, having more drives in F1 would mean there is more room for talented drivers on the grid.

          As for choosing Stroll over Perez, yeah, not going to happen. And I guess that we can also say that Stroll Snr. investing in RP / Aston Martin is a boon for F1, which wouldn’t happen without Lance racing. And we can complain a lot about exactly how Red bull (mis)manage their young drivers, but on the other hand they do fund 2 teams. And would Williams be there without money from Pastor years back, and without money from Latifi? Would Haas be on the grid next year if Mazepin wouldn’t fund the team.

          But again, having more teams would give us a chance to see more drivers racing in F1 and prove they belong on the grid.

        2. @hotbottoms there is the catch that if you implemented a rule to “Ban sponsorship deals that affect team’s driver decisions”, then you would likely have banned Perez from entering F1 in the first place.

          When Perez signed with Sauber to replace Nick Heidfeld, Perez’s backing from the Slim family meant that a significant portion of the sponsors on that car were Slim family businesses (Telcel, Telmex, Claro etc) – at a time when Sauber was in a very precarious financial position, his sponsorship was a factor in him getting that seat (and does also seem to have had an influence on his move to Force India as well).

          It has to be said that there was a fair bit of hostility on this site towards Perez for that very reason – back then, there were quite a few who complained about “that pay driver Perez” and said that he didn’t deserve a place on the F1 grid.

          1. He also drove carelessly and wrecked a few cars, back then, too… (just like Ham, just like Max…)

          2. Exactly he has forgotten this like the Slim family didn’t try to buy him the Aston Martin seat.

    3. Did they run out of money for the trophies after giving out those huge ones last weekend?

    4. Buxton tweeting that there is some ‘heavyweight chatter in the paddock’ about Perez future possibly news by next weekend

    5. Well, imagine how many times Red Bull could use Perez in their second car?

      1. My guess Albon out, Perez in.

      2. Albon is consistently average.

        1. think you forgot “below” in front of average

        2. @adrian
          And yet still a lot better than Bottas.

    6. He’s right. I mean, we have Mazepin and Latifi in F1 next season and Perez can’t get a drive even with serious financial backing. Pathetic really.

      1. Don’t forget the rest.

      2. Latifi might suffer like Haryanto did. And I don’t know how long Mazepin will last.

    7. It works both ways. Perez has been more than lucky many times, so, my opinion is that he losing his seat was a combination of factors: Vettel availability (more PR than Perez), Racing Point not needed of Perez money, obviously Stroll factor and his own personality. He lost the seat when Schumacher name was available and benefit Haas. Another rich guy buying a seat (Mazepin) and Alonso wanted to drive. If Vettel performs poorly yet he is a good marketing guy and Stroll will look good. If Vettel performs good, it is what it was supposed to happen when you hire a 4 WDC. He’s not doing any good to get hired with such remarks. The last thing a team needs is a whiner. If Alonso performs, nothing new. Mazepin will buy Haas and Schumacher has Ferrari, FIA and Liberty in his pocket to attract those who miss his father and keep things in balance. His only real chance is RBR, just stop complaining and pushing for an answer.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        7th December 2020, 12:27

        “He’s not doing any good to get hired with such remarks.”

        There are lots of people out there claiming that drivers are not outspoken, they’re guided by their PR machines and so on.

    8. I wonder if lance will race until he 50?since seeingg his seat is garunteed

    9. Well the best drivers are, but sometimes a decent midfielder doesn’t find a seat when he finds himself fired. Most likely Perez could have found a spot at Haas if he wanted though.

      1. @f1osaurus
        “but sometimes a decent midfielder doesn’t find a seat”

        And sometimes one decent and one slightly less decent midfielder are lucky enough to drive the most dominant piece of machinery in the history of F1, racking up win after win (if they’re not throwing them away by driving in a closed pitlane or make illegal practice starts) despite lacking actual talent.

        1. You sound salty. I think Hamilton has proved time and time again when he was at McLaren and in gp2, in karting, anywhere he’s driven really that he has the talent. I think most of the drivers on the grid, if in the right car, would win. Bar maybe latiffi on the current grid. Even kvyat and I don’t rate him at all.

    10. I truly believe that bad pit stop by Mercedes was staged – they couldn’t stage a puncture but I believe they(Toto and Lawrence) wanted racing point to do well – wouldn’t cost Mercedes anything to loose and without Hamilton it was the perfect storm…..
      how much talking did Toto do with Stroll during the GP + who was the white shirt not on the Pit wall durning pitstop? Highly unusual!

      1. They staged that puncture too * tin foil head engaged *

        Russell didn’t feel a puncture, but Mercedes kept insisting he really had a slow puncture and should come in

    11. This picture showed everything you need to know about the commitment of the drivers. The best result ever for
      Racing Point and Lance can’t put his phone away.

      1. I think Lance needs to mature and find a little humility. His phone in the post race interview was rude and made him look completely disinterested.His post race comments came across to me of a sulky child who was annoyed that Checco won and not himself. I think Lance has talent. But he doesn’t seem to present himself in the best possible way and nor does he care.

      2. exactly what i was thinking

    12. inb4 anti-Stroll comments

      1. Too late. That was predictably in the first post.

        1. I didn’t see anything hateful.

    13. So what is Perez 22 option?

      Is it Renault? Ocon out, or McLaren and Norris out?

      Perez has said he doesn’t want no-hoper cars anymore, and those are about the only 2 left with ‘replaceable’ drivers.

    14. There seems some hesitation to sign Perez. After all he performs well enough and brings a bag of cash with him. A big bag of cash. So why this hesitation?

      If RedBull do sign him for next year perhaps the relationship which develops between him and Verstappen, and him and Marko/Horner might give us a clue.

      1. The problem is the teams that need the cash already have people bringing cash.

    15. Maybe Albon is the pet project of the Thais. If so, Verstappen has two teams working for him.

    16. Letting teams run a third car may be the easy solution (assuming some teams would want to run a third car) and adjust the spending cap accordingly for three car teams. I’d imagine that Perez and Hulk would be able to find a seat if third cars were allowed.

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