Formula 1: When did Red Bull actually sign Sergio Perez?

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

Sergio Perez is set to compete for Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen in the 2021 Formula 1 season. When did the team actually sign him?

Red Bull announced on Friday, December 18 that they had signed Sergio Perez to replace Alexander Albon alongside Max Verstappen for the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Perez had lost his ride with Racing Point for next year to four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel a few months prior.

As fans well know, new contracts aren’t necessarily announced the moment they are signed. That is the case not only in Formula 1 but in all of motorsports, and really in all sports in general.

More from Formula One

As a result, that led to speculation that Perez had been signed by the Milton Keynes-based team well before the official announcement was made.

Fans picked up clues from two photos posted by the 30-year-old Mexican on Twitter.

Fans noted that the picture Perez posted with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko and team principal Christian Horner was taken at the W Hotel at Yas Marina Circuit, the site of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The race was contested on Sunday, December 13, and this conclusion was drawn based on the curtains in the background.

While the above photo was posted on Friday, December 18, the day the news was made official, fans also noted that Perez was wearing the same clothes as he was wearing in photos that he had posted four days earlier when he did a helmet swap with Vettel.

Many news outlets did report that this was a done deal several days before the team officially confirmed it, which backs up this speculation.

However, Marko laughed off the “detective work” and said that nothing was solidified as far as a contract was concerned when this picture was taken.

Here is what he had to say about the matter, according to Motorsport Total.

"“That is detective work that was done there. A photo has nothing to do with signing a contract. It was a social meeting and at that time, nothing was one hundred percent definite. We took the photo in case it became definite. Signatures can be done electronically these days.“I honestly don’t remember exactly [when the photo was taken]. It was a turbulent weekend. And the opportunity was there because, after all, we weren’t allowed out of the hotel because of the COVID-19 regulations.”"

Perez’s initial deal with Red Bull is a one-year deal. He is set to debut for the team on Sunday, March 21 in the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit.

Top 10 Formula 1 drivers of all-time. dark. Next

He is coming off a 2020 season that saw him win for the first time in the Sakhir Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit and finish in a career-high fourth place in the driver standings with a career-high 125 points despite the fact that the season was shortened from 22 races to 17 races as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and despite the fact that he missed two races himself after testing positive for COVID-19.