Formula 1: Sergio Perez to drive for Red Bull in 2021

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) /

Former Racing Point driver Sergio Perez is set to join Max Verstappen at Red Bull for the 2021 Formula 1 season, replacing Alexander Albon.

After much speculation, Red Bull have confirmed that Sergio Perez is set to replace Alexander Albon and drive alongside Max Verstappen in the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Perez, who finished in a career-high fourth place in the 2020 driver standings after recording his first career victory in the Sakhir Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit, is set to be replaced at Racing Point, which are set to be rebranded as Aston Martin, by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel next year.

The 30-year-old Mexican spent seven seasons with the team, which had previously been known as Force India.

Here is what he had to say about the opportunity to drive for Red Bull next year.

"“I am incredibly grateful to Red Bull for giving me the opportunity to race for Red Bull Racing in 2021. The chance to race for a championship contending team is something I have been hoping for since I joined Formula One and it will be a proud moment to step onto the grid in Red Bull colours alongside Max. You can be sure that I will give next season my full focus. The Team has the same winning mentality as me and I know I am here to perform and help the Team fight for another title.”"

In 191 starts over the course of 10 seasons, Perez has secured 10 podium finishes and led 49 laps, including 24 in his maiden victory earlier this month.

His career average starting position is 11.0 and his career average finishing position is 10.1, and he secured career-highs in both in 2020 (both 7.4).

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He scored a career-high 125 points in 2020 despite the fact that the season was shortened from 22 to 17 races as a result of the coronavirus pandemic as well as the fact that he was forced to miss both races at Silverstone Circuit after testing positive for COVID-19.

As for Albon, he is set to move into a new role with Red Bull as their reserve and test driver. Perez’s deal with the team is a one-year deal, which gives the Milton Keynes-based team the option to move a more developed Albon back into his seat in 2022 if things don’t go as planned with Perez as Verstappen’s new teammate.

Here is what team principal Christian Horner had to add.

"“Alex is a valued member of the Team and we thought long and hard about this decision. Having taken our time to evaluate all the relevant data and performances we have decided that Sergio is the right driver to partner Max for 2021 and look forward to welcoming him to Red Bull Racing. Alex remains an important part of our Team as Test and Reserve Driver with a key focus on 2022 development and we would like to thank him for his hard work and contribution.”"

Verstappen remains under contract through the 2023 season after signing a multi-year extension back in January.

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Perez is set to make his Red Bull debut in the 2021 season-opening Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, March 21. He has beaten his teammates in a series-high six consecutive seasons going back to 2015. Verstappen is riding a three-year streak of the same.